MY Yoga System --Simple Asanas

N K Srinivasan Introduction
I have been in love with the Yoga system--mainly asanas and pranayama-- since my school days. I learned the basic Surya Namaskar or sun salutation from my uncle who was an adept and a regular practitioner. He was also muscularly built. Later, after I saw a few people practising the asanas in distant Chennai [Old name : Madras, India}, including T. Krishnamacharya, I started practising on my own. [Thirumalai Krishnamacharya is considered Father of Modern Yoga and is the guru of three famous yoga teachers-B K S Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois and Indra Devi. Indra Devi was called "First Lady of Yoga" in the west.] I always admired the Iyengar yoga of Shri B K S Iyengar. [ I met him for the first time last year --2012-- in his Insititute in Pune and spoke to him for a few minutes in Tamil. he is 94 years old now.]I find that his method of

[ I also read several books in Tamil language on yoga and interacted with Swami Gitananda of Puduchery.But even this is not easy for many beginners and senior persons. especially women practising the yoga in the West. Some general precautions and warnings . that would suffice. as it has been done by many modern yogis.] [Incidentally I am also an Iyengar---that is .I belong to the Vaishnava sect of Iyengars by birth in South India.Hence I developed my own system of yoga.] I have been thinking about a 'minimal set of asanas" for a busy person and for seniors . leading to maximum benefits. His book " The Light on Yoga" is the standard text I rely upon. If one can do "Surya namaskar" or Sun salutations". Of course I have read or consulted a dozen books on Yoga during my practice extending over more than 55 years.yoga [Hatha yoga] can be modified or simplified to suit our needs. My wife has the clan name of Thirumalai--the same clan as Thirumalai Krishnamacharya.

Do not practise yoga without going through proper medical check up. Ask your yoga teacher. should avoid certain poses or asanas.1. 4. consult a physician before starting some yoga postures. 5 Those with vertigo or dizziness. 6 Pregnant women should consult a physician and a trained yoga teacher before starting yoga. 3.If you had hernia . Avoid much of yoga if you suffer from heart ailments and high blood pressure. .Some develop retinal detachment due to Yoga. 2.

I am in my seventh decade and practise yoga daily. you can practice with some direction or guidance of a teacher. learned from a book or DVD or video clips. Ustrasana--Camel Pose But if you are a normal person with some flexibility in your limbs and muscles. You may try simple poses . .

.] 4 Each pose you hold or maintain only for 10 seconds to 1 minute. you may like to repeat for learning the posture.But this is not recommended for modern persons. but in beginning stages. Even doing once only is sufficient for many persons.That is not required. 2 Always wear loose clothing while doing yoga.. If you had breakfast.loaded with food. [In ancient times yogis could maintain certain poses for a hour or so. .. 3 Repeat yoga postures only 2 or 3 times. Let 2 hours elapse after heavy meal before you do Yoga. Never practise pranayama without instruction from a teacher.] 5 Controlled breathing is important. Advanced yogis can do for about 2 to 3 minutes. let an hour elapse before doing yoga. Ujjayi pranayama is to be learned by serious students.which you should learn from a teacher.General Instructions 1 Do not practise yoga on an empty stomach or full stomach.Yoga asanas are not repetitive exercises.do not overdo.[I have seen some books suggesting that you repeat 6 or 8 times.

. You may practise other poses for two weeks before attempting these hard poses. 9 In general. 7 Practise daily at about the same time. Adho Mukha Svana Asana Benefits of Yoga There had been several books and articles on this aspect. So a count of breaths becomes an easy method for timing your poses. Thus eight breaths would be about 30 seconds. 8 We normally take 15 or 16 breaths per minute.6 Rest for 1 minute between the asanas. I will make a brief note on this. standing poses and back bend poses are more strenuous.

. muscular strength and calmness of mind. You can improve your digestion system easily through yoga.In fact many approach a yoga teacher for relief from spinal problems. knee pains and arthritis. good circulation of blood. come other benefits like balance.Two important things to improve with yoga are: 1 your breathing system-2 Your spine In fact the main benefits of yoga flow from these two systems--lungs and spinal cord.. It will help maintain a good digestive system to pretty old age. Yoga has been found to benefit people with lung problems and those with lower back pain. In general. .Yoga helps to avoid or reduce old age problems like joint pains.assuming that you also follow a sensible dietary habits.. With these improvements. yoga improves the flexibility of your muscles and joints.

For instance . These hormones affect the basal metabolic rate and may help to balance your weight. { I am unable to say anything definite about weight reduction for obese persons through Yoga. a .But a general statement given in Yoga literature is that yoga stimulates sluggish glands which produce various hormones.

] MY SYSTEM OF YOGA In exploring for a minimal set of yoga poses or asanas for general health that would be most suitable for seniors . Again each can be repeated twice. I concluded that the following set of asanas would be the optimal system: * Sukhasana [Meditative pose] * Tadasana * Adho-mukha-svana- asana * Balasana [Resting pose] *Ustra-asana * Vajrasana * Virabhadra-asana * Ardha Matsyendrasana *Vrikshasana * Savasana [meditative pose] Only this set of ten asanas.sluggish thyroid gland may lead to increase in weight. . Yoga can help to activate endocrine glands and can help to control your weight and avoid obesity.

this set of 9 asanas. Lastly. If not anything else. use a wall for support and alignment. Practise for a week or two. as we do for most important activities in India. there are variations--from easy to difficult or advanced positions. are based on two main poses: forward bending "downward facing dog pose" .You may also count your pulse rate.as suggested by BKS Iyengar .can be used. Choose the easy form first. Support with chairs may be helpful too.except savasana. Notes on these poses To explain further. it is important to start a Yoga session with a short chant or prayer. Practise each pose from 10 seconds to 2 minutes except Savasana and Sukhasana--you can maintain these poses for 5 to 10 minutes. [You can select your own chant or prayer. supports and belts .] One Tip: You may check your blood pressure 10 minutes after a yoga session and keep a record with date. Certain props.Note that in each of these poses.

Keep your mind calm during the savasana. Vrikshasana [ Tree pose] helps to improve balance and may be helpful to reduce joint problems and arthritis.-adho-mukha-svana asana and the back bending Ustrasana [Camel pose]. These are my favorite ones for general benefit. Vajrasana [Hero pose] is the initial seating position for other asanas.This pose can be practised by all and is an excellent method for reducing hypertension or high blood pressure. is the relaxing. meditative pose. Balasana or Child pose is a relaxing pose--can be done at any time during the day.the 10th one.the corpse pose. them move on to Virabhadra 2 and Virabhadra 3. You should practise this for 5 to 10 minutes. Other asanas in this set fit in well with these two asanas.especially after a tiring day in the office or after a long drive. . Veerabhadra asana or warrior pose is a bit difficult. This asana is the last one to be done in a session. but practice gently Virabhadra 1 pose in the early stages. Among these asanas. Savasana .

Trikonasana [Triangle pose} is not included as this might turn out to be difficult or harmful to some persons.as they can cause severe strain for many and may cause eye problems like retinal detachment. hero (thunderbolt) --> child --> downward dog --> upward dog--> child I have not included the poses-- Bhujanga asana [Cobra pose] or Dhanur asana {bow pose } and several others.It is better to avoid them after the age of forty. The head stands or inversions are not included. you can add these poses for relaxation and for additional benefits: * Ardha bhujangasana--half-cobra or sphinx pose .easy sequence is as follows: Vajrasana --> Balasana --> Adho-mukha-svanasana --> Urdhva mukha svanasa --> balasana. You may do them if you are guided by an experienced yoga teacher.A simple. Optional Poses After you gain some experience with yoga. You may add these poses at your discretion based on your fitness level.

bending your knees. It is simple to achieve this pose. To relax. Stay in this pose initially for 5 minutes and then extend to about 20 minutes after a few weeks. Breathe normally and keep your mind calm during this long session for this pose. The benefits of this pose are many--I can write a .Your thighs will be vertical. A comfortable variation of this pose is to lie flat and place the legs on a chair or a cot . You lift your legs and recline them on a wall--called "leg-on-wall pose". you can cover your eyes with an eye pad or napkin.* Nataraja pose-* Paschimottana asana * Uttana asana * Salabhasana * Dandasana -Plank pose *Baddha Konasana * Viparita Karani [ A note on Viparita Karani--- It is an "inverted action" pose-- an easy substitute for difficult inverted poses like Sarvangaasana [shoulder stand]. Ask your friend to help you with this pose.

It is helpful for digestion.Glaucoma and other eye complications should avoid this pose. There are many other excellent books as well.in my opinion.but the veins may disappear in a month . The results may vary.retinal problems. It can reduce back pain and also arthritis. If you have varicose veins . 1 B K S Iyengar -- Light on Yoga [Yoga Dipika][ A standard text and . 'The Bible of Yoga".Those with high blood pressure.separate essay on that. constipation and bloating of the stomach. I am suggesting only a few.It can cure gastritis .] Contact : nksrinivasan@hotmail. you may do this. It is good for the heart. .com References Though there are literally about a hundred books on yoga. if you do not have contra-indications for this pose. Viparita Karani is credited with giving a youthful appearance. migrane. Read also about contra-indications for this pose.

.[1948] 7 Phulgendra Sinha - Yoga cure for common diseases--Orient Paperbacks. 8 Suza Francina -- New Yoga for healthy aging-- [2007] 9 A G Mohan et al -- Yoga Therapy. . 13 James Hewitt-The Complete Yoga book --Schoken books 14 Swami Satyananda --Asana.] 5 Apa Pant ---Surya Namaskar --Orient Longmans. 12 Sivananda Yoga Centre--Yoga-101 Essential Tips --DK pub. New Delhi.... Shambala [2004] 10 Gary Kraftsow --- Yoga for wellness..D K Publishing 3 Hansraj Yadav--Yoga for students--Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.[ A useful instructional manual... Penguin books (1999) 11 Yoga Journal & Timothy McCall --Yoga as medicine --Bantam books. 1998 6 Indra Devi--Yoga for you. 3 B K S Iyengar---Iyengar Yoga for beginners. Pranayama. Mudra. Mumbai [2002] 4 Silva Mehta and Shyam Mehta--Yoga-The Iyengar Way --Alfred Knopf.2 Swami Vishnudevananda --The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga--Three Rivers Press. [A pocket reference book].. N Y.

especially for senior citizens--- to relax. The reference books cited here may be helpful. Yoga cure implies following strict diet regulations .perhaps confer longevity! Besides the easy Savasana or Corpse pose. Munger. including a vegetarian diet to be effective.Kriya--Bihar School of Yoga. India [Note: Indra Devi [1899-2002] was called the "First lady of yoga" and her book "Yoga for You" introduced Yoga in America around 1948 and later in Argentina. Restorative Poses There are several restorative poses . migraine. These poses begin with "supta" in their names.Two most important ones are : . to reduce stresses and to rejuvenate and . one can do several reclining or supine poses. I am not experienced in this branch of yoga and one should consult an experienced yoga therapist.back pain. diabetes and arthritis and several degenerative diseases.] ----------------------------------------------------Yoga Therapy Yoga can cure common ailments as well as chronic diseases like asthma.

------------------------------------------------ See the website of "Yoga Journal" for detailed instruction on each asana."supta baddha konasana" and " supta virasana". but begin with only 1 minute practice.Maintain these poses for 3 to 5 minutes for great benefits.] --------------- Om Tat Sat ------------------ . [Several websites and video clips can help you.. Another restorative pose for all is : Viparita Karan i or "Leg on the wall" to be done for about 10 minutes.