If you only do one yoga asana this month try...
Navasana To Improve Your Stamina
When hiking in the mountains, running a marathon or simply climbing the high flight of stairs or catching a train, it’s often our body’s poor endurance that lets us down and decreases our ability to cope with physical activity. Remember the last time you were short of breath or your heart was racing? You don’t even have to do a physically demanding sport or work, it’s also the immunity to fatigue and disease that shows how good or bad your body’s resistance and strength is.
If this sounds too familiar and you are done with feeling lethargic and ill, much improvement can be achieved through yoga exercise that not only helps you build physical stamina but also improves your mental and emotional resilience to fight the stresses of today’s lifestyle.
The main purpose of yogic exercise is to improve body’s strength and flexibility as well as the blood circulation and the intake of oxygen, through slow and gentle movements of spine and various joints. Together with deep breathing, yoga exercise is designed to promote the important organs in your body and release tension and stiffness of your muscles without violent movements you often use during aerobic exercise or gym’s work out routines.
While there are various yoga poses to improve your stamina, I find the following two exercises really beneficial as they also challenge your balance, determination and mind focus that go hand in hand with embracing vitality and endurance.
Navasana or Boat Pose:
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and palms on the floor.
- Exhale - a) bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor so your calfs are parallel to the floor (beginners) or b) raise your legs to 60 degrees from the floor with your knees straight and toes pointing away from you (advanced).
- Lean back slightly but make sure your back doesn’t round and your chest is open.
- Raise arms straight to shoulder level and keep them parallel to the floor with your palms facing each other.
- Balance on the "tripod" of your two sitting bones and tailbone with your eyes looking straight ahead.
- Keep your lower belly firm but not hard or tight and breathe normally.
- Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds, gradually increasing the time to 1 minute.
- Release the pose on exhalation and lie down to rest.
Note: Don’t worry if your body shakes at first, this will go away with regular practice and by keeping your focus on regular breath.
This exercise is especially useful when walking long distances or climbing high stairs and hills. Your aim is to synchronize your breath with your steps, keeping your mind focused while distributing a larger amount of oxygen into your body more efficiently, thus leaving you with extra energy and strength. Try to inhale through your nose deeply on first 2-3 steps and exhale through your nose or mouth on next 3-4 steps until you create a breath-walk rhythm or pattern that feels comfortable.