Yoga is getting more popular as never before seen in both eastern and western countries. Although the objective of the Yoga asana is to benefit the student. There are times when yoga poses should not be practised. Please read on to find out why you should not do these poses.
Sirshasana (The Headstand)
The Headstand is called the King of all asanas because of having tremendous benefits for the body and the mind.
All our physical and mental activities are governed by the brain which is the seat of intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, discrimination and power.
As the Headstand increases the blood flow to the brain it revitalizes the entire body and the mind and also regenerates the nervous system.
When the reversed flow of blood goes into the legs it helps to regenerate the tissues.
During the practice of the Headstand the deep exhalation is happening as the effect of the weight of the abdominal organs on the diaphragm which causes the larger amounts of carbon dioxide and toxins out of the lungs.
Practice of this asana provides the feeling of equilibrium and well-being and it increases memory and concentration.
The Headstand inverts the pattern of blood pressure in the body increasing it in the head and dropping it in the feet.
The blood pressure at the top of the head increases from 100/60 mm Hg in a standing position to 150/110 mm Hg in the Headstand.
The blood pressure of the feet in a standing position will be about 210/170 mm Hg; and it will drop to 40/0 mm Hg in the Headstand.
The blood pressure will remain the same at 120/80 mm Hg at heart level.
Three Reasons Why You Should Not Do Headstand:
(1) However, one of the most important reasons for not coming to the Headstand is when you have High Blood Pressure. Check with your doctor if you are fit to do this pose.
(2) Another reason to avoid the Headstand is when you have weak eye blood vessels or any eye problems. By ignoring your conditions you put your health at risk.
(3) Headstand is better avoided during menstruation and pregnancy. You do not want to feel heavy after your yoga class, so please relax and let others to struggle with this demanding pose.
Healthy thyroid means healthy functioning of all the organs of the body
The Shoulderstand is called the Queen of all asanas as it benefits the whole body.
It is a forward-bending posture engaging all parts of the body and stretching the shoulders, neck and upper back.
In the Shoulderstand the whole body is supported by the hands, arms and shoulders.
As the body is inverted the blood flows to the heart without any strain by force of the gravity.
The Shoulderstand nourishes the thyroid gland which, regulates the bodies metabolism, controls the heart rate, promotes the growth and balances the digestive and nervous system.
This asana tones the legs and abdomen increasing circulation to those areas.
It massages the abdominal organs and it relieves stress.
Because of the enriched blood flow to the brain it also relieves emotional and mental stress, headaches and it is very tranquilizing.
Three Reasons Why You Should Not Do Shoulderstand:
(1) If you have High Blood Pressure the posture is better to avoid.
(2) Anyone who has Cervical Spondylities should not attempt to practice this pose because as you hold the pose the weight of the body is taken through the neck.
(3) If you have Glaucoma or Detached Retina please, avoid the Shoulderstand as it could worsen the condition.
When you are in the Shoulderstand there will be a sensation of extra pressure and tension in the neck because of the severe flexion in the neck.
Your eyes, ears and face may also experience an increased sensation of pressure.
During the Shoulderstand the expansion of the chest is restricted leading to breathe at the rates of not less than eight breaths per minutes.
In some cases up to twenty breaths per minute.
The Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The Cobra pose destroys all diseases and increases body heat.
In a Sanskrit language Bhujanga means a cobra hence the name, mostly used in the West.
In the Bhujangasana the body is facing downward while the upper body is curling up and back resembling a snake with its head raised ready to strike.
This pose is mostly practiced as the first in the series of backward bending asanas followed by Locust and Bow postures.
Before attempting this powerful movement of the Cobra pose the warm up of the muscles of the back is strongly recommended.
During holding the pose the legs do not remain passive; they are extended down from the hips.
When you start lifting your upper body from the floor be aware of the point where you have extended as far as you can without straining your back.
Keep your elbows slightly bent and do not push it up over your zone limit.
The best way to check if you are not too high is to take your hands off the floor for a moment so that the height you find will be comfortable and safe.
During Bhujangasana the spine receives a powerful backward stretch which increases flexibility of the spine, strengthens the spine and rejuvenates the spinal nerves.
Each vertebra of the spine is given a rich supply of the blood.
This posture is excellent tonic for women as it tones the ovaries and uterus and it helps to alleviate the menstrual problems.
By regular practice of the Cobra pose the backache can be removed.
Three Reasons Why You Should Not Do Cobra pose:
(1) This asana should not be attempted by pregnant women at all cost.
(2) A person suffering from Hernia should not practice this pose.
(3) If you have injured your back please, avoid this posture.
Sitting Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Never force yourself into a forward bend when sitting on the floor
The Sitting Forward Bend is one of the most demanding postures of Yoga.
In this pose the body is folded almost in half, providing an intense stretch to the entire back of the body, from the scalp down to the heels.
Students often struggle in this asana.
If you pull yourself forward using your shoulders and arms you will create the tension through your body and you will end up tightening your muscles and this will not allow you to get into the posture any quicker.
While doing this asana give some time for the muscles to stretch and to release the tension.
Often, because of tightness in the back of the legs many students do not go very far forward.
For those who find it difficult to do the full Sitting Forward Bend they can do the half pose using the right leg and the right hand at a time for a few breaths and than practice with the other leg and hand.
The Sitting Forward Bend stimulates the kidneys, liver, spleen and pancreas improving digestion in the body.
The pose tones and massages the entire abdominal area and it relieves constipation.
It stretches the hamstring muscles, lumbar and sacral regions and increases flexibility in the hip joints.
Regular practice of this asana removes excess weight in the abdomen area.
Three Reasons Why You Should Not Do Sitting Forward Bend:
(1) A person who suffers from slipped disc and sciatica should not practice this powerful asana.
(2) Anyone who has asthma should not attempt to practice this pose.
(3) If you are in the first trimester of pregnancy avoid this asana as it puts stress on the womb.
After the first trimester you can practice the pose very gently with your legs slightly apart.
When this pose is demonstrated it resembles a locust (grasshopper) moving its rear ends up and down, hence the name.
Locust is one of the backward bend asanas usually performed in a sequence; first the Cobra is practiced, then the Locust followed by the Bow.
Locust is a posture which turns the body out expanding the chest to face the world.
It is a very stimulating, powerful and dynamic asana, one of the most demanding but also one of the most unnatural posture in Hatha yoga.
The Locust pose requires the muscles of the lower back, abdomen and legs to work with each other to achieve the lift in the lower body.
Before attempting the full Locust try to do the easier version (Half Locust), which involves lifting only one thigh at a time instead of both of them simultaneously.
As a beginner you may not have enough strength to make any movement of lifting the thighs up but you will still benefit from the effort.
As an intermediate student you will be able to lift your legs higher than the beginner student but it will require more strength in the arms, forearms and shoulders.
As an advanced student you have to be careful not to hurt yourself by falling out of the posture by trying to toss yourself up into the full pose before developing sufficient strength and control.
To maintain this asana the intense whole-body muscular effort is needed.
Locust serves as a counter pose to Sitting Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), Plough (Halasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) which bend the spine forward.
This asana greatly compliments the Cobra (Bhujangasana), lifting the lower part of the body rather then the upper.
It is more difficult pose because it is less natural and more strenuous to lift the lower extremities (legs) from a prone position (lying face downwards) than to lift the head and shoulders.
Locust brings a large supply of blood to the kidneys, cleansing and regenerating them. It strengthens the shoulders, arms, pelvic organs and lower back muscles.
It tones the muscles of the abdomen, tights and legs.
It tones the sciatic nerves providing relief for people with backache, mild sciatica and slipped disc (as long as the condition is not serious).
However beneficial the Locust is there are some health conditions in which the Locust should be avoided.
Three Reasons Why You Should Not Do Locust:
(1) Person with High Blood Pressure is better to avoid this pose.
(2) As the asana puts lots of pressure on the abdomen it is strongly advisable for pregnant women not to attempt this asana.
(3) Anyone suffering from Peptic Ulcer should not do this posture.
There you go some food for thought.
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Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.