Anuloma viloma pranayama
This technique of breathing helps to balance and harmonise the functioning of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It has a soothing effect on the nervous system and calms the mind. Because the exhalations are longer than the inhalations, it encourages the removal of stale air and toxins, resulting in a glowing and smooth skin.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with the spine erect and palms on the thighs. Raise the right hand, curling the right forefinger and middle finger into the palm, leaving thumb, fourth finger, and little finger extended. Then place the thumb on the right side of the nose and apply gentle pressure just under the bone, where the fleshy part of the nose begins. Inhale through the left nostril to the count of four and then exhale from the right nostril to the count of eight. Now inhale from the right nostril for four counts and exhale from the left nostril for eight counts. This is one round of the pranayama (breathing exercise). Do 10 rounds; then breathe normally.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Lie down on the belly, legs hip-distance apart. Place a yoga block between the thighs and rest forehead on the floor. Place palms a little ahead of shoulders with elbows on the floor. Inhale; press legs down towards the floor and internally rotate the thighs down, so that the ankles lift up and toes press down. Tuck the tail bone down and under, drawing the pelvis in towards the body. Exhale; press the palms on the floor, lift the torso, lengthening it and squeezing the block with thighs. Relax the hip muscles. Open the heart and roll the shoulders down towards the hips and away from the ears. Hold the pose for five to 10 breaths; then release and rest.
Benefits: A regular practice of this pose improves blood circulation around the spinal vertebrae.
Padahastasana (Forward bend)
Stand with legs hip-distance apart. Place a bolster between the thigh and the belly and hold it with both hands.
Inhale; elongate the spine and on an exhale, extend forward from the hips. Bend the knees and press down on the bolster. Bend the elbows and hold the right elbow with the left hand and vice versa.
Stay in this pose for 15 breaths.
To release the pose, hold the bolster, lift the head up, and release the palms. Lift the torso up and relax.
Benefits: This forward-bending pose releases tension from the torso and improves blood circulation in the whole body, especially the facial muscles.
Seema Sondhi discovered yoga when she suffered three lumbar slipped discs and was advised complete bed rest. Over the last 18 years, she has trained and been certified from the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre and Matthew Sweeney.