For yoga guru Vandana Gupta, yoga is a practice that helped her rediscover herself, taught her the importance of self-love and strengthened her to tackle tough situations with utmost ease. A true ambassador of holistic wellness, she connects with her fans via her YouTube show, FIT TAK. As an expert in the field, Gupta has been teaching with the Govt of India at FSI (Foreign Service Institute), Ministry of External Affairs and other prestigious organisations, as well as training IAS and IFS Officers, foreign diplomats and bureaucrats. A former actress—she has featured in films and over 200 advertisements for top brands—she got into yoga after suffering through a string of ailments and fatal sicknesses. At a time when she hit rock bottom, her first yoga lesson came as a ray of hope. And there has been no looking back ever since.

 
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"The effects of yoga are beyond the yogasanas that help you stay physically fit. It can bring mental, emotional and spiritual harmony too. When all these 4 aspects are in sync, you naturally become calmer, happier and healthier," she says. "At a time when we are staying and working from home, people are prone to anxiety and stress. Yoga is the perfect solution to boosting your immunity, calming your mind and relaxing your body." Whether you have known this life-changing practice or are just starting out, Gupta introduces you to the benefits and basic yoga asanas that are effective and easy to do at home every morning.

Suryanamaskar

Kick start your day by performing a few sets of these 12 powerful yoga poses that are a salutation to the sun. Apart from being a great cardiovascular exercise, it has immense positivity stored in it. Feel gratitude, relax your mind and embrace calmness with suryanamaskar.



Post this, you are now ready to perform the other asanas that stretch you physically and bring peace to you mentally. Here are 5 rejuvenating postures to try out.

Padahastasana



Padahastasana widely known as the ‘hand under foot’ pose is an intense bending pose and has great health benefits. The posture reduces belly fat, tones abdominal muscles, increases flexibility and blood circulation. It gives a deep stretch to your hamstring, calves, lower back and back of your thighs.

How to do it
  1. Stand straight and distance your legs hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale and slowly your raise your arms over your head.
  3. Exhale slowly, bend forward the trunk from your hips till your hands reach your foot.
  4. Keep your palms under the soles of your feet.
  5. Keep your knees straight and do not hunch your back.
  6. Loosen up the shoulders and let the arms relax.
  7. Touch your forehead to the knees and let the back muscles of your neck relax.
  8. Stay in the posture and take a few deep breathes.
  9. Release the hands from under your feet. Bend your knees, drop your hips, tuck your chin to chest and very slowly roll up.


  10. Trikonasana



    This Sanskrit name is derived from two words – Trikona, which means triangle and asana, which means posture. This is because, in the final position, your body looks like that of a triangle. This posture strengthens your joints and improves lung capacity. It also relieves back pain and sciatica. Trikonasana also works therapeutic wonders for people suffering from anxiety, flat feet, neck pain and osteoporosis.

    How to do it
    1. Stand with your legs 3 feet apart.
    2. Turn right foot towards the right wall 90 degrees and keep left foot straight towards front.
    3. Inhale and bring your arms straight out to the sides, in line with shoulders and parallel to the floor with the palms facing downwards.
    4. Exhale bend your body to the right from your hips sideways, keep your waist straight Keep your chest and pelvic area open.
    5. Keep both the knees straight, knee caps pulled up at all the time and both arms in one straight line.
    6. You can keep your right hand on the mat outside of your right foot or on ankle or shin according to your comfort.
    7. Once you are balanced, turn your neck and look up towards left fingertips.
    8. Hold the position for a few minutes and take deep breathes.
    9. To release, exhale, look down towards right finger tips, bend your right knee, inhale and come up straight. Then, try the position on the other side.
     

    Paschimottanasana



    This pose has an intense effect on your back. It is known for increasing flexibility and energizing the muscles of your spinal column. It also stimulates your internal organs like your stomach and is beneficial for your digestive system. The posture, with its muscle relaxing stretch, calms your mind and works well in relieving stress and anxiety.

    How to do it
    1. Sit with your head-neck-trunk aligned and erect.
    2. Stretch out your legs in front of you and flex your toes towards your face.
    3. Inhale keep your palms facing down on your thighs.
    4. Exhale and start bending forward from your waist.
    5. Hold your big toes or ankle or calves wherever you feel comfortable.
    6. With every inhale, lengthen your spine and with every exhale, bend a little more to deepen your asana.
    7. Keep your spine erect and try to touch your forehead on your knees if possible.
    8. Hold the position for a few minutes and take deep breathes.
    9. To release, inhale, let go of your feet/ankles, raise your head, slowly move back and come to the starting position.
     

    Purvottanasana

    Popularly known as the upward plank pose, purvottanasana gives a good stretch to the front of your body. It’s a strenuous pose which requires a strong core, ankles and wrists. Over time, with regular practice, you easily be able to perfect this posture and develop strong arms, shoulders, legs and back. Along with stretching your chest, it is also therapeutic for fatigue.

    How to do it
    1. Sit with your head, neck and back aligned. Stretch your legs in front.
    2. Keep palms facing down couple of inches behind your hips, fingers facing towards hip. Lean a little back.
    3. Keep your hands straight, inhale and lift the body upward while balancing the weight on your arms and legs.
    4. Lift as high as you can without feeling any extra pressure. Eventually your body will be parallel to the floor.
    5. Exhale drop your head back.
    6. Hold the position for a few minutes and take deep breathes.
    7. To release, inhale and lift your head. Then, exhale, lower your body and sit back on the floor. Take couple of deep breathes and relax.
     

    Setubandhasana

    Setubandhasana or the bridge pose, is an amazing posture that gives your entire body a deep stretch. It works great in relieving pain and stress. It opens your chest, respiratory system and strengthens you back and leg muscles. It has proven to improve your nervous system, digestion and also eases out problems related to menopause.

    How to do it
    1. Start by lying on your back on the mat.
    2. Bend both of your knees and keep your knees & feet hip width apart.
    3. As you inhale, lift your back up slowly from your lower back to middle back till you reach towards your upper back and shoulder, while your neck and head are flat on the mat.
    4. Palms facing down beside your body or if you feel like you can catch your ankles or interlace your fingers under you body.
    5. Make sure your feet are not too close or too far away from hips
    6. Thighs should be parallel to floor and knees are over ankle.
    7. Hold the position for a few minutes and take deep breathes.
    8. To release, exhale and bring your torso back towards the floor from upper back to middle back, and then the lower back. Relax in shavasana and take a couple of deep breaths.

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