Flexibility Archives - Munmun Ganeriwal
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Flexibility



Purvottanasana or the Inclined plane pose

Benefits– Not only does it strengthen legs and arm muscles, it also strengthens your lower back and improves your sense of balance

Steps

1. While you sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out, place your hands few inches behind you making sure your fingers are pointing backwards.
2. Lean back slightly on your hands bringing your shoulder blades together
3. Lift the hips as high as you can, ensuring your knees are straight, feet are flat on the mat and not turning outwards.
4. At the final posture, body should be in a straight line. Hold the pose for 10 secs to 1 minute
5. Release the pose to sit on the mat and relax

Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward dog pose

Benefits- It helps to tone up arms and legs, strengthen the ankles. It also helps develop speed and lightness in the legs, hence especially good for runners and sprinters

Steps

1. Lie down on your stomach with your palms by the sides of your chest. Fingers pointing towards the head. Feet slightly apart
2. Exhale and lift your trunk, till your arms are straight. Move your head inwards towards the feet.
3. Turning your toes under, lift your knees away from the floor. Keeping elbows and knees straight, press the heels down on the mat
4. Hold the pose for about a minute and remember to keep breathing.
5. To release, exhale and lift your head, bend your knees and lower your body on the mat and relax

Urdhva Dhanurasana or the wheel pose

Benefits- Since the arms and legs are actively engaged in the pose, it helps to strengthen them. Being a backbend pose, it also works to keep the spine healthy and elastic.

Steps

1. Lie on your back. Keep your palms under your shoulders, fingers pointing towards the feet.
2. Bend your knees, feet flat on the mat. Walk your feet closer to your hips.
3. Exhale, lift your trunk and rest the crown of your head on the mat
4. Exhale again, this time, raise your trunk and head both, till your arms are straight. Arch your back and keep pulling your thigh muscles up, so as to ensure your body weight is resting on your palms and soles of the feet
5. Stay in the pose for up to a minute and breathe normally
6. To release, exhale, bend your knees and elbows and lower down the body on the mat

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English vocabulary has a term for people who lack strength and courage. They are referred to as SPINE-LESS. When you have someone who supports you always, you say he/ she is watching your BACK.

The first thing that is formed in a mother’s womb: The Spine is the source of all our energy. On a spiritual level, it is the seat of major energy chakras that determines the quality of our lives. On a physical level, it protects the spinal cord and transfers bodily stimuli via its nerves to the brain.

Spinal column consists of cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), lumbar (low back), sacrum and coccyx (tail bone).

The extreme lower tail bone area is supported by the pelvic girdle (the hip bone) and the middle back area by the rib cage. Hence, they are less prone to injury.

Having no support and a greater range of movement makes the neck (cervical) & lower back (lumbar) areas more susceptible to wear and tear.

It is hence crucial for everyone to strengthen, release and stretch the muscles in these areas. Strengthening the abdominal muscles is also very important as strong muscles in the abdominals will take the load off the lower back and greatly minimise back strain.

Below are few very simple exercises which can be practised to build up the tone, strength and flexibility in the back muscles-

Bhujangasana

1. Bhujangasana – For Cervical spine (neck)

a. Lie down on your stomach placing your palms close to the chest

b. Raise your upper body. Straighten your arms and throw your head back to arch your spine

Pawan muktasana

2. Pawan muktasana -For Lumbar spine (lower back)

a. Lie down on your back taking both your knees close to the chest

b. Keeping your hips down, use your hands to press the knees on your chest and stretch your spine.

c. Raise your head up and touch the knees

Elbow Plank

3. Elbow Plank – For Abdominals (abs)

a. Lie down on your stomach keeping elbows at shoulder level

b. Raise your body parallel to the floor and resting mainly on elbows and toes

c. Contract your abs to keep yourself up and prevent drooping

NOTE –

• You can hold all these poses as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute, as you get stronger.
• Repeat three times.

So work it out and flaunt it fearlessly. ‘Strong’ is the new ‘Sexy’ after all!

Image Courtesy – Google Images

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