Monday, July 7, 2008

Wellness in the lap of nature

Wellness in the lap of nature
By Bharat Thakur, Correspondent Published: July 04, 2008, 23:41 for GULF NEWS

Yoga is a science over 5,000 years old. The sages used to practise yoga outdoors in the lap of nature even though going green was not a concern at the time.

Going green has now become a necessity and yoga is one of the few practices that can be done outdoors.

This goes a long way in minimising energy consumption too.
Yoga needs no equipment and the attire is simple.

Hence, the consumption of electricity for machines, lights and air-conditioning can be eliminated completely. It can also be practised any time of the day.

Breathe in the freshness

There is no better place than the outdoors to practise yoga.
By not utilising machines, air-conditioners and lights, as are found in a studio-gym environment, yoga helps you go green.

The fresh air benefits the yogi tremendously, especially because there are many breathing exercises, or pranayamas, that can be practised.

Pranayama teaches one to breathe correctly and helps to get the respiratory system in order while also purifying the body by releasing toxins.

The ethical principles of yoga — the ten yams and miasmas — include ahimsa (non-violence), aparigraha (generosity) and saucha (purity).

These are key aspects that are meant to be practised on the yogic path.

Non-violence is minimising the harm caused to other living things.

However, it also means building the positive qualities of honouring and revering Mother Earth.

By practising yoga, we learn to serve, heal and protect the environment, and treat it as an extension of ourselves.

But only once we learn to honour our bodies, can we learn to honour Mother Earth.

However, there is another element at work outdoors too — negative ions. These negatively charged particles in the air are found in great numbers in forests and places near oceans, rivers and streams.

Negative ions make you feel alert and invigorated and reduce anxiety and depression.

According to researchers, this is because they increase our capacity to absorb and utilise oxygen, so it can reach our cells and tissues faster.

Here are asanas that can be practised outdoors.

Trikonasana (Triangle pose)

Stand erect with the feet about a metre apart.
Turn the right foot to the right side.
Stretch the arms sideways and raise them to shoulder level so they are in a straight line.
Bend to the right. Don’t bring the body forward.
Place the right hand on the right foot.
Lower the left arm over the ear, until it is parallel to the floor, with the palm facing down.
Look at the left hand.
Return to starting position.
Repeat on left side.

Veerabadrasana (Hero’s pose)

Start on the knees with the arms at the sides.
Take one step forward with the left leg.
Bend forward and place the palms flat on the floor so they are on both sides of the left foot.
Stretch the right leg back fully. Only the toes should rest on the floor.
Raise the arms over the head and keep the elbows straight.
Return to starting position.
Repeat the position on other leg.

Vatayanasana (Arched moon pose)

Stand with the left leg behind the right, its heel off the ground, and the left arm hanging on the side.
Raise the right arm straight up.
Inhale and slowly raise the left foot behind and hold the toes with the left arm, making a triangle between your back arm and leg.
Exhale and bend your torso forward and lower the right arm in front of you till it is parallel to the ground.
Balance the body on the right leg, still holding the left foot with the left hand. Hold the posture.
Repeat with other leg.

Natarajasana (The Statue)

Stand with your feet far apart and your hands on your waist.
Bend your knees, keep your back straight and stretch your arms straight above your head.
Join the palms and hold the posture.
Stand with your feet far apart and your hands on your waist.

Eka Pada Pranamasana (One-legged prayer pose)

Stand upright with the feet together and the arms at the sides.
Focus your gaze on a fixed point in front of the body at eye level.
Bend the right leg, grasp the ankle and place the sole of the foot on the inside of the left thigh.
The heel should be close to the perineum. The right knee should point to the side.
Hold the ankle until the body is balanced, then place the hands in the prayer position and raise the arms and keep the elbows next to the ear.
Repeat on other side.
Stand upright with the feet together and the arms at the sides.

Sahaj Pranayama

Sit in a meditative posture. Ensure that your back is straight.
Inhale, allowing your stomach to expand outwards.
Hold breath and exhale slowly.
Try and maintain the ratio of 1:2:2.
As you inhale, chant “So” and as you exhale, chant “Hum”.

— Bharat Thakur is the founder of Bharat Thakur’s Artistic Yoga. For questions on yoga, write to For more information, log on
to An avid golfer, Bharat Thakur is also the creator of the Yoga-for-Golf Workshop. For queries, please write to

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