Balance your mind, learn to relax, enhance your physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing with yoga. Salma Mian is one of Karachi’s most trusted Yoga teachers. She trained with Sir Wajahat and went on to train further in Sri Lanka with a well-known teacher named Veeda. At the time Veeda was over eighty and yet looked no more than 50. Salma perfected her art in intense one-on-one sessions that would last hours. She continues to upgrade her skills and now offers Hot Yoga after a course in Canada. Salma uses her expertise to guide her pupils, describing each pose in depth, from the breathing to the position of each part of your body.

1. Yoga is a discipline that can be practiced at any age and during any phase of your life.

2. Most poses are adaptable for people with injuries or health issues such as high or low blood pressure.

3. There are variations on poses for people who have weak backs or joints.

4. There are even specific poses for healing and strengthening the body as well as for assisting with issues like infertility.

5. Yoga encompasses your mind and body, with a particular breathing pattern for each pose. It is calming yet rigorous and releases endorphins, which trigger a positive attitude and that all-important feeling of wellbeing.

It can seem like yoga is only for the slim and extremely flexible. If you can barely touch your toes why would you even try something than seems to require being a contortionist? Expert teacher Salma Mian explains,

“You shouldn’t expect to be able to do complex poses from Day 1. Yoga will make you more flexible but it will take time for your body to loosen up. Start slow and you will soon be able to achieve more than you realize. Everyone is inherently flexible. Look at how babies sit with perfect posture and can easily pop their toes into their mouths.”

Yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach, at least two hours after a meal. Salma advises newcomers to go slow, remembering to focus on their breathing and posture. Breathing is key to every yoga pose and here Salma explains some basic breathing exercises to start you off on the road to Yoga bliss.

Basic Breathing

Stand at ease with your palms together in front of your chest. Close your mouth firmly and breathe only through your nose. Breathe in deeply and then breathe out. That is one count. Initially hold the pose for 2-3 counts, moving up to 5-8 counts and then 11-15 count. Focus on something at eye level to help maintain the correct pose.

Abdominal Breathing

Sit on a mat in the half-lotus position, i.e. with your legs crossed, your right foot over the left thigh with the sole facing upward while the left foot goes under the right thigh. Your back should be perfectly straight, as if someone is pulling you up from a string on top of your head. Once again breathing should be through your nose only. As you inhale push your stomach out so it makes a ball, as you exhale pull it in, drawing your navel to your spine. You can go slow or fast, although those with blood pressure issues are advised to stick with a slower pace. Start with 5 – 8 counts and increase gradually.

Lion Pose

Start in the Japanese sitting position i.e sitting on your heels with your knees shoulder width apart, with your buttocks resting on your heels. Alternatively you can sit in the half lotus position. Remember your spine should be erect and you must not slouch.

Breathe in through your nose. Exhale while leaning forward with your tongue out, eyes wide open, stretching your cheek muscles not frowning.  Say “Haaaa” as you exhale, in a deep forceful motion emptying your lungs quickly. While you exhale bring your arms forward and stretch your fingers.
The Lion pose is an excellent stress reliever and exercises the face and throat muscles. Start with two repetitions, gradually building up to 5.

These breathing exercises are an excellent introduction to yoga. In the second part of “Simple Steps to Yoga Bliss” Salma Mian introduces 5 easy poses that anyone can do at home.

This article of mine was first published on beautifulyou.com.pk

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved

Salima Feerasta
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Salima Feerasta is chief editor of Karachista.com and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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