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Lift your Spirits Higher during Ramazan with Yoga

Marjari Yoga Asana
Marjari Yoga Asana

Exercising in Ramazan is considered impossible. The fasting requires one not to partake in anything including water from dawn to dusk. So the question arises how can one exercise in a condition where even water is not allowed? Rekha Soni, yoga consultant and trainer says practising moderate yoga consisting of some breathing exercises and simple stretching exercises can actually prove a boon to the body during Ramazan. Some yoga asanas during the fasting hours are beneficial for the body, internally as well as externally. Practising correct stretching and breathing exercises will give you more energy, keep your body cool, your mind calm (of course, the prayers that you would do will play a major role in calming your mind) and will leave you fresh even after a strenuous day of fast during the long summer days.

Another dilemma is the time of the exercise. Rekha recommends these exercises during the fasting hours itself, as it will work wonders for you on an empty stomach.

1. Sheetali pranayama (Cooling Breath)

Yoga

This breathing practice is very simple. It cools the body, the mind as well as the emotions. Sheetali pranayama as the name indicates, soothes and calms the mind-body organism as it activates a powerful evaporative cooling mechanism during inhalation that delivers a gentle cooling energy to the deep tissues of your body.

Sheetali pranayama is highly recommended during hot weather, extreme physical exertion, long hours in the sun, highly emotional situations and any circumstances that can cause heat.

Benefits

  • Cools the body
  • Alleviates hyper acidity in the digestive tract
  • Calms and soothes the mind
  • Quells excess thirst
  • Alleviates excess hunger

Contradictions

Not recommended for people with

  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Chronic constipation
  • Those with heart diseases should practice without breath retention

How to practise

Sit in vrajasana. Rest the hands on the knees. The spine should be erect, chest and abdomen open. Close your eyes and gently breathe through the nose. Relax the whole body. Once you feel your entire body is relaxed, start the Sheetali pranayama. Inhale as much as you can through your rolled out tongue. Stick the tongue out. Roll the lateral edges upward that your tongue forms a tube. Inhale through your curled tongue. Once you are done inhaling, draw the tongue in, close your mouth, holding the breath for a few moments. Then slowly exhale through the nostrils. Repeat in the same manner as many times that you can manage.

2. Pumping of the stomach (Udar Shakti Vikasak)

Udar Shakti Vikasak is an asana that helps in strengthening of the stomach muscles, toning the stomach, and keeping stomach related problems at bay. As the name suggests, udar meaning stomach and Shakti vikasak meaning increasing the strength, simply put increasing the strength of the stomach.

Benefits

  • Softens the stomach
  • Keeps stomach related problems at bay, like, indigestion, acidity, gastric problems
  • Helps in fighting belly fat

Contradictions

Not recommended for people with

  • High BP
  • Hernia
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Pregnancy

How to practise

Stand straight. Join both the feet together. Bend your waist at about 90 degrees. Hands should be placed on the knees to get maximum benefit out of this asana. Now inhale. While inhaling, the stomach should move out and while exhaling the stomach should move back in. Increase the speed. Repeat it for as much as 15-25 times in quick succession. Once done, stand up while inhaling and then relax.

3. Marjari asana (The Cat Pose)

While fasting one can get tired easily. A little bit of stretching while fasting can work wonders for overall relaxation. Practising marjari asana in a sitting posture will help you in relaxing the spine without tiring you out.

Benefits (in a sitting posture)

  • Relaxation of the spine
  • Flexibility of the spine
  • Relaxation of the mind

Contradiction

Not recommended for anyone with back or neck problems.

How to practise

Sit in a comfortable position. As you inhale, raise your chin tilting your head backwards, stretching your entire back. Hold the pose for some time. Follow this with a countermovement. As you exhale, withdraw your chin inwards towards the chest. Continue it for about 5-6 times. The maximum benefit can be gain from this pose when it is done slowly and gracefully. This pose can be done as many times during the course of the day whenever one feels tired.

Try out these yoga asanas and other simple stretching exercises and reap the maximum benefit this month of Ramazan both physically and spiritually. Stay blessed.

 

Text and images by Tasneem Dhinojwala

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