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Tone your limbs with yoga

Last updated on: July 22, 2009 

Tone your limbs with yoga

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The cat-stretch is an ideal pose in which to rest between two strenuous poses in yoga. It also is a great way to relieve the muscles that have become tensed with more intense back-bends. It also prepares you for more difficult poses.

The first part discussed the therapeutic value of this pose, but this pose also has tremendous `cosmetic' benefits.

The up-down movement of the neck works the delicate neck muscles, firming them and preventing sagging at the neck and face. The pressure on the thyroid, caused by the neck lock, also massages the thyroid, aiding weight loss by hiking metabolism. The stiffening of the arms and legs between the two movements of each cat stretch, in all its variations, tones the limbs marvellously.

Difficult and stubborn spots at the hips, thighs, upper arms, inner legs, waist  are toned. In advanced variations of the cat-stretch, even the body's balance is challenged. This intensifies the work-out even more. Also, the brain's cerebellum, the two hemispheres are worked out, creating inner harmony and emotional balance.

In the second and concluding part on the cat-stretch or marjariasana, yoga acharya Shameem Akthar, trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, instructs you on other variations of this cure-all pose.

Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and information about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com.

This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.


Image: The cure-all marjariasana
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff
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Marjariasana (Cat-stretch, variation)

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Go on your fours in the classic cat-stretch, palms down, on your knees. Look ahead. Place right hand out in front. Release, placing left hand out in front. This is one round.

Do up to ten rounds.

Benefits:

Works out the hips. Challenges the balance and creates inner equilibrium.



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Marjariasana (Cat-stretch, variation)

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Go on your fours in the classic cat-stretch. Look ahead. Stretch right leg behind. Breathe normally throughout. Release right leg back and repeat for left leg. Do up to five rounds.

Benefits: Same as above, more enhanced.



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Marjariasana (Cat-stretch, variation)

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Go on your fours in the classic cat-stretch. Look ahead. Hold right hand out in front. Then lift right leg out behind, as shown. Hold for a few seconds, breathing normally.

Take care to maintain balance since this pose also challenges your sense of balance. Rest hand and leg back and repeat for left leg. This is one round. Do up to five rounds.

Benefits: As listed above.



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Marjariasana (Cat-stretch, variation)

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Go on your fours in the classic cat-stretch. Look ahead. Hold right hand out in front, then stretch out the left leg behind. Breathe normally, maintaining balance.

Then relax back hand and leg. Repeat for left hand and right leg. This is one round. Do up to five rounds.

Benefits: As listed above.



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