We lose flexibility, balance and strength, especially once we hit our 30s and the aches and pains pop up out of nowhere. Want an easy way to keep your body in shape as the decades roll by? Yoga is the answer. It’s a low impact way to strengthen and stretch and can be done anytime and just about anywhere. Ayush Kumar
, a Yoga expert discusses Yoga Asanas for anti-ageing.
This pose will help you develop an awareness of postural tendencies.
Stand on a yoga mat or on the floor with feet parallel and together or hip-width apart, arms hanging on the sides. Focus on the feet and how your body weight is distributed. Without lifting the soles of your feet off the floor, shift forward, backward and side to side to move your body weight until you bring it to centre. Moving your attention up the body, feel that your hips are stacked over your ankles and shoulders over the hips. Move the chin back. Aim to find an equilibrium that means you use as little muscle strength as possible to stand. Imagine that a string is pulling you up from the crown of your head.
Tree pose is a simple balancing posture that will help you maintain your abilities. Stand and shift most of your body weight onto the left leg. Bring your hands to prayer position in front of the chest. Come onto the toes of the right foot and open the right hip and leg.
If your balance seems unsteady, keep your right toes on the floor, right heel against the inside of the left calf. If you feel stable here, lift the right foot off the floor and place it against the inside of the left calf or thigh. Be careful not to press against the knee. Take a few breaths, then slowly lower and repeat on the second side.
Stand with your feet together and arms at sides. Keeping the knees and feet together, sit back as though you were going to sit in a chair. Only go as far as you are comfortable and balanced, but do try to challenge your muscles. To protect the knees, make sure they are behind the toes and not moving forward. At the same time, reach the arms straight in front of you to help with balance. If it is easier to balance, you can do this pose with feet hip-width apart, just be sure the knees are pointed in the same direction as the toes and not caving inward.
Start on hands and knees, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Fingers should be spread wide and engaged, with middle fingers pointing forward. Look behind you and check that feet are about hip-width apart. Curl under the toes and reach the tailbone toward the ceiling. At this point, keep the heels high off the floor and keep a gentle bend in the knees. Gently straighten the knees and lower the heels towards the floor until you feel a soft stretch in the back of the legs and in the back. If it feels too strong, bend the knees again until you are more comfortable. Rather than dumping all the weight onto the shoulders, aim to balance it between your hands and feet. Engage the hands and arms, as though you were reaching forward with your hands. Bring the belly button toward the spine and engage the core.
This pose works your upper body and core strength, both of which can decline as we age. Start on hands and knees, making sure that wrists are directly under shoulders and hands are engaged. For level one, walk back on your knees until there is a fairly straight line from the knees to the shoulders. Bring your belly button toward the spine and use your core muscles to keep the hips from sinking. Make sure the wrists are still directly under the shoulders. For level two, come off your knees and onto your toes so that the entire body is in a straight line from shoulders to heels. If this pose hurts the wrists, come down onto the forearms instead, with your hands clasped and elbows under shoulders.