Happy International Yoga Day 2019! Yoga has become a popular form of exercise. A large number of people are practicing yoga and spreading its benefits. Yoga-based events are organized by yoga gurus or big organizations to help enlighten the world. Many of us perform yoga every day because it is basically a method to achieve balance in our bodies that is increasing flexibility, decreasing stress and gaining strength.

Yoga includes simple breathing exercises and gentle ‘asanas’ followed by more tough ones.

Although there is a lot to learn and explore in the world of yoga, it is best to start simply at home with knowledge about a few basic yoga exercises.

Start with a brief meditation:  Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Make no effort to control your breath, simply breathe naturally. Focus your attention on the natural pace of your breathing and your body movements with each inhalation and exhalation. Do it anywhere between five to 10 minutes daily. Meditate in a quiet place. Be easy on yourself when your mind wanders while meditating. This practice helps reduce your stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness, lengthen attention span, reduce age-related memory loss, generate kindness and spirituality and fight addiction.

Perform a few breathing exercises correctly:  Start with ‘Pranayam’. ‘Prana’ means life force. It helps in controlling the breath and soothing the fluctuation of mind, body, and spirit. Pranayam focuses on concentration, active thinking, helps you gain a sense of mindfulness, makes you self-aware and conscious and syncs the body movement with the breath.

‘Kapalbhati’ is a simple and best yoga breathing exercise for beginners. Keep your spine erect and put your right palm on your stomach. Now take a deep breath in and exhale powerfully. Every inhalation should be passive, but exhalation should be powerful. As a beginner, practice it for 25 repetitions. It releases backache, neck pain, strengthens back and stomach muscles, rejuvenates a tired body, improves blood circulation and reduces aging signs.

‘Anulom Vilom Pranayam’ is another breathing exercise that has great healing powers to treat serious ailments. This breathing technique is considered as the simplest breathing exercise among all yoga breathing exercises. Sit in a relaxed position with your back straight. Now, close the right nostril with the right thumb and place the index finger of your right hand between your eyebrows. Then use the ring finger of your right hand to close the left nostril and then remove the thumb from the right nostril to exhale. Repeat the process for five minutes while you can gradually increase the time. This exercise improves concentration, cures mental issues and is beneficial for breath-related issues. With these two yoga breathing exercises take a deep breath, revitalize and let it go.

Performing a few basic and beginning level postures: These beginner yoga poses will help you create a strong base and passion for yoga. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana), Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana), Half-Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana), Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Kranani), Chair Pose (Utkatasana), Cat Pose (Marjaryasana), Tree Pose (Vrksasana), Mountain Pose (Tadasana),Plank Pose, Standing Forward Bend Pose etc. are few simple poses to practice daily. These are easy and gentle poses to energize and revitalize you improving your posture and balance, awakening your spine and soothing back pain. They are luxuriously restorative.

End with Shavasana: End your yoga schedule with final relaxation. You can start yoga in many different ways but it always ends with Shavasana (Corpse Pose). This final pose is one of deep restoration. It takes at least 15 minutes to relax deeply. Lie down on your back. Place a thin pillow underneath your head so the neck is well supported and the chin drops below the level of the forehead with the palms facing up, legs open and arms spread away from the body. Set the timer for at least 15 minutes. Cover your eyes. Release any controlled breathing. Let your body drop into the floor and observe your thoughts which are coming naturally to your mind. Do not react to them. Feel like if they are clouds floating in the sky. When the timer rings, exhale slowly and bend your knees to your chest. Roll to one side, letting the eye cover fall off by itself and use your arms to sit up slowly. Relax!

If you cannot join a yoga studio, 30 to 45 minutes of this yoga schedule at home is as beneficial as joining a yoga class outside the home.

Yoga does not need the same degree of intensity or time as a regular professional yoga session. Do not sabotage your efforts to establish a home practice. Practicing on your own helps you learn to self-regulate and self-soothe. The more you practice on your own, the better you will get at assessing how you feel like doing on a particular day. Whatever is going on mentally, physically and emotionally, you can choose to practice that soothes you the best. Practicing on your own is so indulgent that you can do whatever you want at your own pace and intensity. You can also choose the time span you want to spend in this practice.