Eight basic Yoga asanas to fix your mind, body and soul

  • Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 21, 2015 11:31 IST

The benefits of yoga kick in from the moment you calm your mind and inhale deeply.

Trainers from New Delhi's Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Natraja Center demonstrate basic postures (asanas) that boost blood circulation, relieve back and neck pain, increase muscle strength, maintain hormonal balance, build immunity and improves mood, among others.

A word of caution, though. Start under supervision if you are over 35 years, have never exercised, or have a medical condition.

1) Sirsasana- The Headstand
Benefits: Increases venous blood back to the heart, improves heartbeat, relieves varicose veins, strengthens upper back and shoulder muscles, stimulates pituitary gland function.


(Saumya Khandelwal/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: People with neck injuries, chronic high blood pressure, and menstruating women.

2) Sarvangasana- The Shoulderstand
Benefits: Stretches the neck and upper back and strengthens the lower back. Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands and relieves stress-related tension from the neck and shoulders.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: People with chronic high blood pressure, menstruating women.

3) Halasana- The Plough
Benefits: Corrects posture; massages abdominal organs, relaxes the nerves, relieves tension in the neck and back, stretches the ligaments and muscles in the calves and thighs.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: Menstruating women.

Watch: Basic yoga postures to improve health and calm your mind

4) Matsyasana- The Fish
Benefits: Strengthens spine and arms, straightens spine curvature, stretches thoracic muscles, improves immunity by gently pressing the thymus gland, relieves chronic bronchitis and asthma. It relaxes the entire back and relieves constipation and menstrual cramps.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: People with serious lower back or neck injury; chronic high blood pressure.

5) Paschimottanasana- The Forward Bend
Benefits: Straightens posture, stretches the body from the toes to the upper back, prevent diabetes by stimulating the pancreas, improves blood circulation.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who should not attempt: People with serious back injury.

6) Salabhasana- The Locust
Benefits: Builds flexibility and strengthens the back, especially the lower back. Also boosts blood circulation, massages the gastrointestinal tract and improves digestion.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: People with serious neck or back injury.

7) Dhanurasana- The Bow
Benefits: Improves blood circulation, stretches the thoracic muscles, strengthens the thighs; alleviates stress, stimulates the pancreas to prevent diabetes.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: People with chronic high or low blood pressure, pregnant women.

8) Ardha-Matsyendrasana - The Half Spinal Twist
Benefits: Combats curvature of the spine, strengths the hip joint and back muscles; relieves constipation, reduces pressure on the spinal nerves to boost the peripheral nervous system and increase lung capacity.


(Pooja K. Chhabria/HT photo)

Who shouldn't attempt: People with serious spine injury.

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