Prayer Pose

Many factors like previous experience, individual experience, available time, and general health are taken into account when planning a yoga program.

In a situation where a disease is diagnosed, yoga is used only to aid the medical treatment and not to replace it.

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However, yoga is not only for those who are ill or require treatment. Poses in yoga like the Prayer Pose are recommended for healthy people as an alternative means of fitness. Yoga is also recommended for improving physical, psychological, and physiological health.

Prayer Pose

Namaskarasana (Prayer Pose) is an easy and effective asana that is important as you move from simple yoga poses to more advanced ones. This pose will instruct you on how to push from below your shoulders and from the lats (commonly known as latissimi dorsi), which is a major group of muscles in the back. This posture aligns and strengthens the upper body, while getting rid of tension and improving blood circulation to the shoulder joint. It is also effective in strengthening the lumbar and abdominal region as you try and form a base.

Steps

The prayer pose steps are as follows:

  1. From Svanasana (Table Pose) tuck your toes under and bring your hands towards your feet. Keep your knees bent and bring your hips down to your heels so that you are squatting.
  2. Let your feet come apart a little, till your torso does not rest on your thighs. You can keep your feet either flat on the floor or keep your toes tucked under.
  3. Gently bring your palms together in front of your heart and keep your elbows pressed against your knees. You can use your arms to bring your knees apart and deepen the stretch at the hips. To maintain balance you can concentrate on a single point on the floor.
  4. Let your hips sink down to the ground and reach upwards from the crown of your head to elongate the spine. Let your shoulders roll back and down and press your chest to your thumbs.
  5. If possible, you could shut your eyes and try concentrating at the point between your eyebrows. This point is referred to as the third eye.
  6. To get out of the pose you should bring your palms to the ground and straighten your legs, lifting your hips upward, similar to the forward fold. Then, breathe in and press into your feet gradually straightening your legs. Bring your palms to the ground and walk them forward so that your knees are lowered back onto the floor.

Precautions

There are certain precautions you should take when attempting the Prayer Pose.

  • Avoid this posture if you have a chronic or recent injury to the hips or knees.
  • You should also avoid practicing this posture if you have elbow problems.

  • If you suffer from high blood pressure, you should refrain from practicing this posture.

Yoga postures should never be practiced under the influence of mind-altering drugs or alcohol. It is always recommended that you first consult a doctor before practicing the yoga postures.

Beginner’s tip

A good beginner’s tip for prayer pose is to close your mouth and breathe in while your stomach contracts and breathe out slowly after some time. During your yoga sessions, you should always concentrate on what you are doing and not worry about the others. It is also important that you never strain or force yourself into a pose.

Benefits to the body

Some of the benefits to the body are:

  • Positive effect on the muscles of the thighs and the nerves
  • Soothes the muscles of the neck, arms and shoulders
  • Enhances the flexibility of the hips
  • Makes the wrists flexible

Therapeutic Applications

Some of the therapeutic applications of the Prayer Pose are as follows:

  • Relaxes the mind and body and maintains an equilibrium
  • Effective for normal delivery if performed under the guidance of a yoga instructor

Variations

Variations in yoga are used for individuals who are physically unable to perform to the requirements of the pose. Variations can also be used to deepen a certain posture and push the body further. If you’re unable to balance with both your hands up, one variation for the prayer pose is to keep one hand on the ground between the toes.

Time

The best time to practice yoga is considered to be early in the morning before you have had your breakfast. If you are unable to practice yoga in the morning, you could also practice it early evening when the sun is setting. Although these times are considered to be ideal, you could practice it at any time of the day. However, make sure that you perform the poses only after 2 to 3 hours of having your meals.

Location

It is important that you choose a clean and quiet place with fresh air to aid your awareness and concentration during the performances of the poses.

Things to keep in mind

  • Avoid practicing yoga after sun-bathing or in direct sunlight.
  • Performing yoga poses in an incorrect manner can aggravate problems instead of helping to clear them away.
  • Avoid practicing yoga without the correct knowledge and professional guidance.
  • Individuals suffering from serious conditions like high or low blood pressure, heart trouble, or other organic diseases should refrain from practicing yoga poses without consulting a doctor first.

Yoga diet

To achieve the benefits of yoga it is also important that you follow a yogic diet. This diet is a balanced diet that yogis believe have an influence on our mental, spiritual and physical well being. This yogic diet is known as a lacto-vegetarian diet. In yogic literature, foods that are beneficial to us are said to be pure or satvic. Following a satvic diet is said to be ideal because it nourishes the body while being easily digestible. Satvic foods include honey, grains, rice, lentils, seeds, nuts, butter, milk and vegetables.

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