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Power your legs with yoga
November 4, 2008
Supple limbs, especially legs, are imperative for robust health. In yoga, this aspect is given minute attention because every aspect of your personality -- from posture, to spinal flexibility, knee health, fluid joint movement, heart health, even mental focus and wellbeing -- is dependent on your leg strength, suppleness and stamina.
It is intriguing to note that those who overuse their legs may not qualify on all the aspects listed above. For instance, athletes or cyclists may often have excessively stiff legs and shorter muscles that are used for powerful bursts of muscular exertion but never enjoy suppleness. This can cause knee injuries and chronic muscular woes.
Similarly, those who are constantly on their feet or walk vigorously or hold professions that require them to be standing for long also do not enjoy leg health. Often, they can suffer from varicose veins, oedema or swelling of feet or have painful heels.
On other hand, those who sit around a lot and fail to move their legs can suffer from circulatory problems. Movement is required to power the circulatory system. Thus a sedentary lifestyle, with minimum leg movement, can cause blood pressure problems and cardiac ailments. Even brain health is linked to leg movement for the same reason -- circulation is essential to reach nutrients and oxygen. The brain, despite being only five per cent of total body weight, requires over 25 per cent of all that we intake. To satisfy the brain's constant need for supplies, leg movement is imperative.
Leg suppleness also takes the load off our spine by acting as a perfect shock absorber.
Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, instructs you on five poses that work the legs.
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com
This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.
Also read: Yoga dance poses for power & stamina