Pose 1. Cat-Cow (Marjariasana Bitilasana) or Meow-Moo pose
You may die, but you’ll never grow old if you have a flexible spine. Yogi Bhajan (Kundalini yoga master)
Cat-Cow is a great warm-up or poses on its own that you can do anywhere, anytime, no matter how much yoga experience you have. It is straightforward and brings you significant benefits. Cat-Cow works on your back all the way from the neck down to your coccyx, breaking physical and energy blockages along the entire spine. It is also known to help reduce pain in the lower back, improve vision, boost with menstrual discomfort and more.
Let it be your routine in the morning if you want to be healthy from the inside out. While making Cat-Cow move slowly and in coordination with your breathing for 2-3 minutes, then rest in children pose.
Start in “Tabletop” position. Align your wrists right underneath your shoulders and knees directly underneath your hips.
Inhale and gaze up dropping your belly down and reaching your tailbone up. Keep your shoulders back and away from your ears. Note: move your head last and try not to tilt your head too far back.
Exhale and round the spine, dropping the head and pulling the belly in. Press the palms into the floor and keep your hips over your knees. Chair variation is shown on the previous page.
Pose 2. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Yoga doesn’t take time; it gives opportunity. – Ganga White
Bow pose is an excellent anti-aging exercise. It quickly opens up your chest and allows you to breathe deeper, therefore oxygenating and revitalizing your cells. Keep in mind that there is not much benefit to eating a healthy diet if your digestive system is not able to process food correctly.
Proper digestion allows you to get the most out of the nutrition. Remember that your body is not hungry for calories, but is hungry for the nutrients.
Full version. To start to reach back with your arms and take hold of your ankles (or the tops of the feet). On inhale raise your chest and legs off the floor, pressing your ankles into your hands. Keep your knees no more than hip-width apart at all times.
Modifications. Use cushioning beneath your hip bones if needed. For beginners, please use the version shown below.
You can start practicing bow pose by holding it for 2-5 breaths with three repetitions. To maximize the benefits, you can add a gentle rocking back and forth motion. Advanced practitioners can work towards keeping the pose for 11 minutes with long deep breaths and may also use the Kundalini “breath of fire.” This pose is not simple and needs practice, so please, take your time and progress little by little.
Pose 3. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
A twist a day keeps the doctor away.
You can fold forward or bend back, you can lean side to side, but without twisting, your spine is not getting the full attention it needs. You have to remember to move your needle in all four significant ways (flexion, extension, side bending, rotation) to keep it healthy. Twisting (rotation) is an essential one. Twists wring fat out of your waist and toxins out of your organs. This pose increases purification of the blood and detoxification of the internal organs.
While you are twisting, your organs get squeezed, and as soon as you release the twist, blood rushes towards them with a fresh supply of nutrients and oxygen.
Regular practice of seated twists and its variations also helps to bring mobility to those suffering from a limited range of motion in hips and shoulders. To get the most out of practicing this pose make sure to lengthen your torso as much as possible before and while twisting. To modify this posture sit in a chair or crossed-legged on the floor. Your movements should be slow and gentle. Think of yielding, breathing profoundly and waiting for the body to open up.
Pose 4. Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Shoulderstand also called “the queen of asanas,” has some health benefits, especially for those fighting with aging. Some of the benefits are:
improves the color and tone of the skin
makes your face attractive, rejuvenates facial skin, keeping it wrinkle-free
helps to reduce dark circles under the eyes
helps to turn back gray hair to its natural color and delay the appearance of gray hair
stimulates mental alertness due to increased blood circulation to the head
improves your vision
helps your hair, skin, teeth, and nails to grow strong and healthy at any age.
Shoulderstand, as well as Headstand (Sirsasana), Forearm stand (Pincha Mayurasana), Plow Pose (Halasana) are known as poses of inversion because they involve positioning your heart above your head.
Inversions turn the energy flow upside down, keeping you not just looking young and vital but feeling high as well.
Inversions are widely used as an alternative to antidepressant therapy. However, it is not recommended to invert your body upside down during your menstrual period which is a resting and cleansing time for your body and soul. During that time your body’s natural flow of energy is directed towards the earth and inversions may interfere with it.
If you are new to yoga, I recommend you start with the beginner variations of shoulderstand shown on this page. Be especially careful with your neck, remembering to keep the weight firmly on the shoulders. You should be able to breathe deeply while in the posture.
Pose 5. Kapalabhati Pranayama
When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. – B.K.S.Iyengar
Kapalabhati Pranayama (breathing technique) is performed sitting with a focus on forceful exhalation through the nose and pulling your abdomen in towards the spine. Kapalabhati is translated as “skull shining” breath. It’s an easy, quick fix that improves weakened concentration.
Because Kapalabhati breathing cleanses the lungs very profoundly, it benefits the entire respiratory system, easing out symptoms of sinus and asthma. Swami Ramdev claimed that it “completely removes blockages in arteries and controls cholesterol.”
Since most people breathe too shallow, air circulation occurs only in the upper part of their lungs, leaving stagnant air in the lower lung area. In this breathing technique, you will be able to cleanse the lower part of your lungs by pulling your abdomen in. During Kabalabhati you will exhale unwanted CO2 from your body. Oxygen supply to your bloodstream will increase. Your blood purification process speeds up and helps to stop or even reverse your aging.
1. Kapalbhati should be practiced on an empty stomach only. Start by lengthening your spine, relaxing your face and shoulders. Tuck your chin slightly towards the chest. Inhale at a reasonable pace
2. Forcefully expel the air through the nose and pull the navel in towards the spine by quickly contracting abdominals. Allow the next inhalation to occur without any effort. Continue at a steady rhythm.
Start by practicing for about half a minute. Then work your way up to 3 minutes. It is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, for pregnant women or during menstruation.