5 asanas for every morning

1. The Headstand or Shirshasana

This posture may look imposing to those who haven't attempted it. Nevertheless, it is an extremely powerful asana. It is called the "king of asanas" because of its overall effect on the whole body. For beginners, it is better to ask a friend to help you with this in the beginning.

How to Perform the Asana - Technique

1. Start by kneeling down on your yoga mat. Interlock the fingers of your hands and place them and your forearms on the yoga mat. Keep the elbows fairly close together.

2. Then place the back of your head into the hollow of the palms (not on the palms or fingers).

3. Now rise up off your knees and take a step or two towards your head.
Inhale, and slowly raise the legs until they are vertical. Keep your back straight and try to relax. Breathe slowly and deeply from the abdomen.

4. Concentrate on the brain or the pineal gland between the eyebrows.
To come down, bend your knees and lower one leg and then the other.

1. The headstand increases circulation to the brain, which causes improved brain function (intelligence and memory) and increased vitality and confidence. It improves many ailments, such as nervousness, tension, fatigue, sleeplessness, dullness, fear, poor blood circulation, bad memory, asthma, headaches, constipation, congested throat and liver or spleen.

2. Adding to the benefits list this asana stimulates four of the most important endocrine glands - the pituitary, the pineal, the thyroid, and the parathyroid glands that are responsible for our very existence. They also keep the body mechanism in good working order. The pituitary gland is called the master gland of the body.

3. If you are losing hair and worried about getting bald soon or later then this asana might help - The headstand promotes hair growth by increasing circulation to the scalp.

4.Sleepless nights? The headstand or Shirshasanai can help you out.
Sleeping disorder can be caused due to many reasons such as poor eating habits, lack of good quality sleep, side effects from medicines. The headstand causes an increase in circulation to the neck, which stimulates the baroreceptors in the neck. This calms the reticular formation down, causing reduced nerve impulses to the cerebral cortex. As a result, you sleep well.

- Don't do the headstand if you have high or low blood pressure.
- Atherosclerosis (blocked blood vessels) and any history of strokes are also a deterrent to doing the headstand. You must improve your circulatory system first, before attempting it.
- If you have any serious eye diseases, ask your eye specialist's first before doing the headstand.
- If you suffer from a neck injury or advanced arthritis in your neck, then doing this exercise should be a strict no-no.

2. Kapalbhati Pranayama -

Kapal in Sanskrit means the skull and bhati is Diya or a lamp. Doing Kapalbhati gives you shining and glow on your face. How? Performing this asana initiates the removal of carbon dioxide from the body, as a result it leads to blood purification. This makes your skin healthy and beautiful. You can sit in either Sukhasana (similar to sitting in a simple cross-legged position) or Padmasana (or Lotus pose is a cross-legged yoga posture which helps deepen meditation by calming the mind.)

How to Perform the Asana - Technique

1. First and foremost, sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees, palms open to the sky. Then take a deep breath in.

2. As you exhale, pull your stomach. Pull your navel backwards towards your spine. Now repeat the steps quickly and as many times as you can do comfortably.

3. You can keep your right hand on the stomach to feel your abdominal muscles contract.

4. When you relax your navel and abdomen, the breath flows into your lungs automatically. Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapalbhati Pranayama.

1. Always wanted a flat and toned tummy? Performing Kapalbhati everyday can help you achieve that.

2. Kapalbhati also rejuvenates the tired cells of your body, thus helping in reducing wrinkles and other signs of ageing.

3. Improves your digestive tract, absorption and assimilation of nutrients in your body.
4. Move over skin packs, performing Kapalbhati can give you a glowing and a healthy face.

- People with high blood pressure, heart problems should not perform this asana.
- Women who have recently given birth and girls during their mensurational cycle should avoid this asana.

3. Anulom Vilom Pranayama or Opposite Nasal Breathing

This is one of the most effective pranayama (breathing exercises) to purify your mind and body. Anulom Vilom offers benefits in curing most of the internal bodily conditions and is very useful in releasing stress and anxiety. Bonus points - Anulom Vilom pranayama can be performed by people of all ages.

How to perform the Asana:
1. To perform Anulom Vilom, sit in Sukhasana (similar to sitting in a simple cross-legged position) or Padmasana (or Lotus pose is a cross-legged yoga posture which helps deepen meditation by calming the mind.)

2. Now place your left hand in chin mudra and right in Vishnu mudra.

Vishnu mudra is when index finger and middle finger touch the base of the thumb. The ring finger, little finger and the thumb remain up. You should first close your eyes and relax all your muscles for a while. Then, inhale from your left nostril while keeping your right nostril closed with the thumb of your right hand for the count of 4.

3. Retain the breath for a 16 counts and exhale from your right nostril with your ring fingers and little finger closing your left nostril to the count of 8. Then, once again take in the breath from your right nostril. Finally, exhale from your left nostril while closing your right nostril with your thumb. This will complete one round of the pranayama. You could perform this exercise for around 15 minutes while taking a minute rest after every 5 minutes.

1. Anulom Vilom benefits us by balancing the body's three doshas - Vata (Wind), Pitta (A bilious humour, or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin) and Kapha (body fluid principle which relates to mucus, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrient.) Any imbalance in the three doshas will lead to illnesses.

2. Anulom Vilom also benefits you by bringing relief to conditions like sinus, respiratory problems, and asthma. Removing of artery blockages and maintenance of cholesterol levels are some other benefits of this asana. It is also effective in dealing with conditions like constipation, flatulence, diabetes, and obesity.

"As Anulom Vilom has no side effects it is considered to be very effective for weight loss," says Fitness trainer Kiran Sawhney."

- Women should avoid performing Anulom Vilom during pregnancy and periods.
- Individuals who suffer from heart troubles should not perform this exercise with too much force and should practice it under the guidance of a qualified instructor.

"For you to reap the Anulom Vilom benefits, it is important that you practice it daily. It is also essential for you to combine it with a yogic diet that is purely vegetarian and do Kapalbhati daily, added Kiran.

4. Half a Spinal Twist or Ardh Matsyendrasana

What to do - Technique
1. Sit with your spine erect and legs straight ahead of you. Now fold the left knee like sitting in cross-legged position.

2. Fold the other knee. Keep the right foot close to the knee of left foot. Take the knee over and above the left knee.

3. Then take the right hand behind your back. Now lift the left hand up. Stretch it. Take it across the right knee and towards the right ankle.

4. Twist the waist and the spine. Look across your right shoulder behind you. If you can go deeper then, join both the hands from under your right knee.

Why it's Good?
1. It improves the flexibility of the spine and makes it supple.

2. It improves the breathing capacity.

3. The chest and hip joints also become more elastic.

- Avoid doing this asana if you are pregnant or have periods as the asana requires strong twist in the abdomen.
- People with Heart, abdominal or brain surgeries should not practice this asana.
- If you have peptic ulcer or hernia, you should first consult your doctor before doing this asana.
- If you have severe spinal problems then this asana should be avoided.

5. Vrikshasana or the Tree pose

How to Perform the Asana - Technique

1. Start by standing tall and straight with arms by the side of your body.

2. Now bend your right knee and place your right foot high up on the left thigh. The sole of the foot should be placed flat and firmly near the root of the thigh.
Note: Ensure your left leg is straight.

3. Once you have found your balance start taking a deep breath in. Then raise your arms over your head from the side, and bring your palms together in 'Namaste' position (hands-folded position).

4. You should be looking straight, see some distant object in front of you.

5. Make sure that your spine is straight. Keep taking in long, deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Now with slow exhalation, gently bring down your hands from the sides. You may gently release the right leg too. Stand tall and straight as you did at the beginning of the posture. Repeat this pose with the left leg off the ground on the right thigh.

1. Performing tree pose can strengthen your thighs, calves, ankles, and spine.

2. It stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders, thus improving your sense of balance.

4. Tree pose is very beneficial for relieving sciatica which is a pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg. It also reduces flat feet.

- Do not practice Tree Pose if you are experiencing headaches, insomnia, low blood pressure, or if you are feeling dizzy.
- If you have high blood pressure then you should not raise your arms over ahead while doing this asana. more  

View all 36 comments Below 36 comments
There is no problem for BP patients doing kapalbhati. I myself is a BP patient and practising this for more than a year now.... more  
Hats off to Shivani and Balan, shashtang pranams more  
You can anlom/Vilom , a very soothing breathing. Please try proper breathing with lungs. It will change your life.You may see it in You Tube. As i have been suggesting. Take a week course on Yoga & Pranayam from Baba Ramdev , Art of Living , Jaggi guru or any other accredited centers. I am 65 & due to regular Yoga & Pranayam Normal BP & Sugar.. A wrong breathing method during Yoga may give side effects. Never Do Sirsasan if you are above 30 years without proper training. There are hundreds of Art Of Living centers around the country. You can also find out centers near you from so many of them. Shivani has started a very good topic on "5 Asanas for every morning " more  
Very very useful. I have a question. Whether Kapalbhati Pranayama can be done by those who are high BP patients but their BP is under control by taking medicines. Thanks. more  
Good suggestions. more  
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