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This is the fourth article of a series of articles on how to practise yoga, in consultation with Anantara Kalutara Resort Ayurvedic Consultant and Spa Manager Dr. Pushpika Attanayake.

This week weight-loss effects of yoga is continuing from next week.  The focus of this week’s discussion is on some of the Asanas that should be practised in conjunction with other yoga postures in order to make the most out of your practice.

savasana
Savasana

“Savasana is also known as corpse pose. After practising each Asana, come back to Savasana for two minutes to relax mind and body. While staying still, concentrate on your breathing,” says Dr Attanayake.

Steps
1.    Lie down on your back and relax your body and mind so that you may fully assimilate the benefits of your asana practice.

2.    Ensure that your legs are angled evenly relative to mid line of the torso. Also, feet should turn out equally.

3.    Arms should also angle evenly to the mid line of the torso, with palms turned outwards.

Dr Attanayake recommends practising Savasana at the end of each yoga session for 15 to 20 minutes She also emphasises the importance of scanning the body for tension while in this Asana. “Mentally run through all the parts of your body and try to make them heavier. Be on the lookout for tension hiding in the jaw, temples, shoulders and hips because stress likes to accumulate in these areas. And release this tension with breathing,” she says.


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Agnisara

“Internally, agnisara tones, activates and cleanses the digestive and eliminative systems. Since many diseases start with stagnation in the digestive tract, it is important to practise this Asana regularly to relieve the digestive tract,” Dr Attanayake elaborates.
Steps

1.    Start by contracting the pelvic floor and the lowest portion of the abdomen (just above the pubic bone) as you begin to exhale.

2.    Then contract and pull the lower belly in and up.

3.    Continue exhaling and contract the upper belly.

4.    When the whole abdominal wall is strongly contracted and drawn in and up and the breath completely emptied out, suck the diaphragm up under the ribs.

5.    Then release the lower belly, continue inhaling and release the pelvic floor as you finish the inhalation. Without pause, begin exhaling and draw the pelvic floor and the lowest portion of the abdomen in and up.

6.    Continue exhaling and contract the upper belly and draw the diaphragm up. Then release the diaphragm and as you inhale, release the upper abdomen, then the lower abdomen and finally the pelvic floor.


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Vajrasana

“This is the only yoga Asana that can be done after a heavy meal. This actually helps proper digestion,” Dr Attanayake says.

Steps
1.    Fold the right leg and bring the right heel under the right buttock. Sitting on the right heel, fold the left leg and bring the left heel under the left buttock.

2.     Sit erect comfortably with the buttocks resting on both the heels and palms resting on the thighs.

3.     In the final posture, the soles of the feet face upwards, heels are kept together and the entire weight of the body is felt on the back of the feet.


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Thrikonasana
“Thrikonasana is helpful for both regularisation of digestive capacity as well as to reduce the fat deposits in the lower abdomen,”
Dr Attanayake states.

Steps
1.    While inhaling, spread the feet apart by about a metre and raise both hands slowly till they reach the horizontal position simultaneously.

2.    Slowly bend to the right side until the right hand reaches  the right foot. The left arm is straight up, in line with the right hand. Palms should face forward.

3.    Stretch up the left arm and look along the fingers. Maintain this posture for about one minute with  normal breathing.

4.    Then, repeat all of the steps to the left side.


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Uttanapadasana

Dr Attanayake recommends Uttanapadasana to  reduce stomach fat.

Steps
1.    Lie on your back, stretch your legs and keep them touching each other.                     Place hands on the floor on each side of your body with your palms touching the ground.

2.    Raise legs without bending from knees, making an angle of 30 degrees with the floor. Hold them  for  six seconds.

Lower them gently to the floor.  Rest for two or three seconds in Savasana and repeat the procedure for six to 12 times, depending on the number of times you could repeat the posture without getting exhausted.