You all have heard of yoga asanas related to calming the mind and improving control, stress management, memory and brainpower, and so on. But do you know which parts of the body do yoga postures (yoga asanas) work on and what are their physiological benefits?
YOGA ASANAS FOR SENSE ORGANS AND BLOOD PRESSURE
There are a set of asanas which specifically work on all the 5 sense organs and also maintain internal balance in the body. This asanas specifically, improve blood circulation, Reduce workload on the heart, and reduce blood pressure. These are as follows:
- Bakasana, and
- Kukkutasana Among many others.
YOGA ASANAS FOR INTERNAL ORGANS
Various internal organs need to be kept at peak efficiency if you need to be healthy. These are the respiratory, digestive, cardiac, and endocrine systems. All of these need the following things: Stimulation, Balance, Relaxation Improving their muscle tone.
All of these are brought about by practicing a lot of yoga asanas.
Some prominent ones are
- Halasana, and
YOGA ASANAS FOR HEALTHY STRETCHING
When you practice asanas accurately, the muscles and joints are gently stretched without any resistance. This ensures that the muscles are not stretched more than their capacity. When you do not exceed your natural stretching capacity, the contraction is also not strong. This is known as passive stretching and the muscles do not resist it.
They stretch very easily and the muscle tone is maintained at its optimum and best level.This means, there is a reduction of tension in the muscles, and the connected nerves are tranquilized and soothed, rather than getting agitated. Emotions cannot remain excited when the nerves are calm. Due to this, you become more relaxed, and mental tension is reduced. Regular practice leads to very positive long term behavioral changes and also calms the cardiorespiratory centers.
There is a set of asanas that are important to be included in every practice.These asanas specifically improve stretch reflexes as well as the muscle tone.Better stretching means lengthening of the telomeres in the body which reduces the aging of the muscles. This keeps you fit and healthy for much longer, even in your golden years.
Some of these asanas are
YOGA ASANAS TO IMPROVE SKELETAL MUSCLES
Many asanas are good for the skeletal system.These practices work on the receptors of the muscles to make them more efficient and improve blood circulation around them.Practicing them gently and slowly will result in great stimulation of the entire skeletal and muscular system, resulting in improving muscle tone.It also does this without putting any extra load on the cardio-respiratory systems.
Some practices are
- Vakrasana, and
Practicing asanas regularly smoothens the muscles of all the internal organs.The gentle massage and alternate stretching ensures optimum muscle tone for all internal organs and stimulates the autonomic nervous system.Once the internal muscles start getting controlled through the autonomic nervous system and internal feedback, emotions, or external factors cannot influence them and disrupt their functioning. The reverse starts to happen. The improved autonomic nervous system and it’s balancing ensure that emotional stability is maintained. Once this happens, there is no stress.
YOGA ASANAS HELP IN BONE JOINT PROBLEMS?
The gentle and static stretching while practicing asanas ensures that the muscles and ligaments get enough time to be passively stretched and percolate to the deepest level of the periosteum. The periosteum is covering at the end of the bone. This stretching also percolates to the capsule at the end and helps stimulate circulation around them.
This impact in addition to improving circulation also ensures the removal of waste products from the joints and reduces the rigidity of the joints. The range of movement starts increasing. Removal of waste products, reduction of rigidity, improved circulation and mild stretching at the deepest levels restores the flexibility and the health of the bone and joints.This is one of the key reasons for asanas helping in bone and joint disorders.
ARE YOGA ASANAS ISOMETRIC OR ISOTONIC IN NATURE?
Isometric exercises are those which involve active stretching and putting a load on the muscles as in weight training.Isotonic exercises are those done quickly and involve jerky and quick movements. Examples are strength training and freehand circuit training.
Asanas are neither. Nor do they have to be performed in this fashion. If done through putting a strain on the muscles by excessive active stretching (isometric), it leads to increased cardiovascular load and a higher energy cost.The individual may be able to do poses by pushing but the benefits work at a superficial level and do not impact the deeper muscles and connective tissues and cells.The person may also become prone to irritation, stress, impulsive nature, and build up an unmanageable ego.
If done in an isotonic fashion (like power yoga or fast-paced Surya namaskar), there are only some physical benefits like improving stamina.However, the body becomes more prone to long term injury and back, neck, and shoulder problems.Also, mental stability is compromised and the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated more. That’s not what we want for health. When you start your asana practice you may feel some strain as you may not have stretched your muscles before.But done very slowly and gradually, without pushing, leads to untold mental and physiological benefits which cannot be provided by other forms of exercise.There is complete relaxation of muscles, but they also get toned up without you realizing it.The cardiac and respiratory load decreases dramatically and homeostasis (internal balancing) is restored.
SAVASANA YOGA (corpse pose)
A high degree of peace is attained in Shavasana. It calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression, relaxes the body, reduces headaches, fatigue, and insomnia, it also helps to lower blood pressure.It not only relaxes the internal organs but also calms the subconscious mind. It provides a great relief to the nervous system which is so complete that you can compare it to a dead body.
When you reach the height of optimal relaxation, you can gently uphold the person’s arm up and let it go. The hand will slowly rise and the person will not feel anything! After the practice of rugs and exercises, savasana is done to relax the body and muscles.
BENEFITS OF SAVASANA
- First, place a mat or bed sheet in a clean place,
- now lie on your back, place your hands at a distance of 4 inches from the body,
- keep a distance of 1 foot in both legs,
- Now slowly leave the body loose and pay attention to each part of the body.
There is no need to circulate the blood with a force so the blood pressure and the heart rate come down significantly. Breathing becomes slow and rhythmic. The respiratory system improves.
The abdominal muscles tone up, improving digestion. Facial muscles relax, slowing down the propensity for wrinkles since the mind is relaxed and muscle tension also goes down to a minimum, there is an elimination of stress at least while it is being practiced.
There is a permanent tranquillity effect which cannot be achieved even by taking tranquilizers or drugs. It is very good for insomnia (inability to sleep well) and hypertension. It is a very good asana to improve energy and alertness while awake. Practice savasana daily even if you can’t do a lot of yoga as it can change your life.