Slumdog Yogi

In the back alleys of South Bombay, a small Municipal school gives shelter to a “paper bag” making unit and a Dream. A dream, that’s growing slowly but steadily over the last 3 years. A small batch of 12 boys from economically difficult backgrounds started building steps towards empowering themselves through the path of Yoga. Over the last 3 years hope was baked in the furnace of diligent practice and hard work, and sincerity nurtured the spirits of these boys who have achieved the stuff dreams are made of.
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Wandering in the Himalayas – Part 2

(Continued from Wandering in the Himalayas – Part 1)

The days went by and one day around the people I knew in Rishikesh I heard about a Mahatma (realized soul) living in the jungle of Haridwar. Unlike my city life, I had all the time in the world over here and didn’t want to lose any opportunity to meet such a highly evolved person, so I quickly jumped at the chance to join the group visiting the Mahatma.

The forest in which this man lived is a closely guarded nature reserve with restricted entry. As our group made way through the terrain, the freshness of the wild forest started enveloping us, the sharp noise of the city was left way behind only to be welcomed by the late evening chirps of birds waiting to fly back home. Peacocks seemed to care less of the group but the bird atop the tree did sound a little curious of the arrival of handful of men in this dense forest. The might and grandeur of the forest was evident, humbling us as we walked through the winter chill, reminding me all the time how we humans try hard to dominate the nature and yet how tiny we are in front of her vastness and power. Pondering over this I made my way through the uneven ground.

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Trikonasana

Trikonasana
Trikonasana

One of the basic postures in Yoga , Trikon means a triangle. Trikonasana gets it name by the triangular shape the body forms.

Step-by-step
Stand with a 2 feet wide stance and focus on your breath.
Turn the toes of the right foot towards the right and inhale.
Raise the arms so that they are parallel to the floor.
Look at the right hand and start bending towards your right laterally sliding your right hand over your right leg
When you feel your body is not moving any further lower, hold the posture and turn your head so that you look at your left hand.
Retain the posture for one minute.
Slowly come back to the upright position.
Repeat the same on the left side.
Bring the legs together and come out of the posture.

Benefits
Helps increase the lateral flexibility of the spine.
Develops the muscles along the spine, strengthening the abdominal and waist region and neck, thus removing backaches and neck pain.
Aiding in the remedy of ailments of the lungs by opening up the ribcage area.
Stimulating the abdominal organs, thereby helping to relieve constipation and indigestion, restoring the digestive fire – ‘jatharagni’ and stimulating the appetite by increasing the metabolic rate.
Helps in re-aligning the hips and pelvic area.

Virabhadrasana

Virabhadrasana
Virabhadrasana

Step-by-step

Stand with the feet spread a little over hip-distance apart and parallel. Turn the right foot to the side.
Bend the right knee and make sure that you do not lower the body too much. The knee should not go any further than level with the toes. You can adjust your stance to be wider, if desired, to create a stronger stretch, but do not compromise the steadiness of the posture.
Take the arms up and outwards to the sides so that they are parallel to the floor (palms facing downwards).
Turn the head to look along the right arm, keeping the neck straight. Inhale deeply . Feel a lifting throughout the spine while stretching the arms outwards through to the fingertips, open up the ribcage. Consciously lift the crown of the head towards the ceiling. Relax the neck.
Hold the posture breathing deeply for 30 seconds (if possible). Straighten the leg and rise up to a standing position.
Lower the arms and come back to the middle and then repeat to the other side.

Benefits:
It is a good posture to strengthen the legs.
It also strengthens the back and the arms and tones the nervous system.
Helps aid circulation of blood.
Inspires courage and strength.