On the occasion of International Yoga Day, Bollywood actress and fitness enthusiast Malaika Arora, who has recently joined Reebok's 'Fashionably Fit' family, shares with you the top five asanas she swears by.
Yoga defines the epitome of calm and balance. It de-stresses, revitalizes and rejuvenates, making you both physically and mentally fitter.
The style diva decodes her favourite asanas and their benefits for a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
Headstand ( Shirshasana)
-Begin by sitting in Vajrasana or the Kneeling Pose
-Slowly come up on your toes and raise your heels but keep your knees on the floor
-Extend your arms straight out, in front of you and bend them at your elbows
-Interlock your fingers so that your forearms and elbows form a triangular shape
-Bend down and place the top of your head right in the front of your interlocked fingers
-Your hands should lightly cup around your head
-Straighten out and lift your knees and lean your body forward so that your head is resting on the floor
-Hold this pose for 30 seconds
-Lower the knees to the floor and return to Vajrasana
-Lie down on your back and relax in the Corpse Pose or Shavasana
"Inversions are my favourite part of the practice. It helps overcome fear it also fires up the core along with its other numerous benefits. To stay upside down for any amount of time requires a considerable amount of focus and concentration. Practicing this frequently will build your ability to concentrate in other situations off the mat.", says Malaika.
Warrior II Pose ( Virabhadrasana II)
-Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), standing with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides.
-Exhale as you step your feet wide apart, about 4 to 5 feet
-Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat
-Pivot your left foot inwards at a 45-degree angle
-Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Keep your pelvis turned toward the front of your mat
-Press your weight through your left heel. Then, exhale as you bend your right knee over your right ankle
-Reach up strongly through your arms. Keep your palms and fingers active and reaching
-Gently tilt your head back and gaze up at your thumbs. Keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears. Feel your shoulder blades pressing firmly inward
-Press down through the outer edge of your back foot, keeping your back leg straight
-Hold for up to one minute
According to the 43-year-old, "Warrior II is great for the legs, gluteus, hips, core muscles, chest, shoulders and the arms. This is a full body pose that essentially, if you're doing it correctly, works every muscle you've got. For me, Warrior II is all about finding peace in the moment."
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
-Stand tall and straight with arms by the side of your body
-Bend your right knee and place the right foot high up on your left thigh. The sole of the foot should be placed flat and firmly near the root of the thigh
-Make sure that your left leg is straight. Find your balance
-Once you are well balanced, take a deep breath in, gracefully raise your arms over your head from the side, and bring your palms together in 'Namaste' mudra (hands-folded position)
-Keep taking in long deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more
-Repeat this pose with the left leg off the ground on the right thigh
"Tree Pose, is one of the first postures any yogi learns. It seems simple enough, but is physically challenging for the hips, balance, ankles, and feet. This pose is known to enhance confidence and create a more positive level of self-esteem. Standing tall and proud with good posture, whether in a variation or balancing whole-heartedly on one foot, the alignment alone broadens the shoulders, opens your heart, and raises your feel-good factor," says the ' Dabangg' star.
Boat Pose (Naukasana)
-Lie on your back with your feet together and arms beside your body
-Take a deep breath in and exhale, while you lift your chest and feet off the ground, stretching your arms towards your feet
-Your eyes, fingers and toes should be in a line
-Feel the tension in your navel area as the abdominal muscles contract
-Keep breathing deeply and easily while maintaining the pose
-As you exhale, come back to the ground slowly and relax
Malaika swears that "Boat can be an extreme workout for our abdominal muscles, and mine usually shake like crazy. Boat is special because it literally connects our root into the ground. The tailbone is the foundation for this pose, the place of power that allows the rest of the body to grow long and tall. Therefore, in Boat Pose, we create this wonderful connection to the earth, grounding ourselves and coming back to a place of self-knowing."
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
-Stand erect with your feet slightly apart
-Stretch your hands to the front with palms facing downwards. Do not bend your elbows
-Bend the knees and gently push your pelvis down
-Ensure that you keep your hands parallel to the ground
-Sit straight and lengthen your spine to relax
-Sink deeper by gradually going down but ensure that your knees don't go beyond your toes
" Utkatasana is also known as the Powerful or Fierce pose. The power or fierceness would signify the importance that every part of your body tries to attain. Here the imaginary chair helps you find that power, the power by which your sitting pose can be achieved without any support. Learning this would also let you know about your strength and stamina to hold this pose," she says.