yoga posesBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT

Anxiety and stress are the root cause of many life threatening conditions, such as: cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  The following two Yoga poses are easy to practice and help students to release stored negative energy and tension, which can create ailments or worse.

Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

This posture is sometimes called “Half Lord of the Fishes pose.” The name can be traced to Sage Matsyendra. Ardha Matsyendrasana can be confusing to some, but it releases physical tension within the entire body. Physical tension stored at a desk, in a car, and on the couch is a recipe for stress overload.

Directions: Sitting, bend the right knee and place the right foot with the heel against the left buttock. The sole of the left foot belongs on the floor on the outside of the right knee. Bend the left arm behind the back and look out over the left shoulder. The right arm presses on outside of the left thigh and knee, the right hand grasping the inside of the left foot. The twist begins in the sacrum and climbs gradually up the spine to the head. Butt stays firm on the ground, feet stay flat on the floor, toes spread. Spine is straight. Then, alternate sides.

This twisting posture prevents backache and keeps the spine flexible and young. It massages the internal organs, aiding in digestion and detoxification. Like all twisting postures, it has the mental benefit of reminding us that we have the power to unravel ourselves in all kinds of unhealthy situations.

Lion Pose (Simhasana)

Sometimes this asana is called, “Roaring Lion Pose.” For many people, the lion is a favorite Yoga pose. You can perform it silently, but I like to be loud and roar. Sitting with spine straight in Thunderbolt Posture, hands on knees, come slightly forward, roaring and exhaling the lungs completely, while opening the eyes wide (rolled back) and opening the mouth as wide as possible, protruding the tongue out and down as far as it will go.

Hold this position on the exhale for as long as possible (6 seconds) keeping the body tense the whole time. Relax and return to the upright thunderbolt position; breathe normally. Repeat. This exercise tones the muscles of the throat and face, bringing fresh blood and new vigor to those areas. In addition, the psychological effect of this pose cannot be underestimated. It is playful, bringing lightness to the mind when overburdened. It is tense, which leads to better relaxation upon release. It is loud and therefore self-expressive, discouraging shyness.

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center

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