Feeling sluggish and exhausted throughout the day?  Give a try to 10 min yoga, doing small amounts of exercise can help you stay alert when you are tired, as well as improve your health. The mind and body practice of yoga is especially beneficial for those who run short on time to work-out regularly and can give a try to the 10-minute yoga for a quick workout, since it offers a wide range of physical and emotional health benefits.

As yoga demands a total mind, body, spirit approach, a 10 min ‘micro session’ can do wonders for you. Unlike other form of exercise, yoga is a mindful practice. For these 10 minutes, you immerse yourself completely. This helps build focus and leaves you feeling energetic throughout the day.

There are some asanas which you can incorporate in your 10minute micro session are:

EKPADASANA (ONE LEGGED POSE)

Achieving steadiness of body and mind is primary aim of yoga. There are some techniques, with simple steps that hold the body and mind together. Ekpadasana is one such technique.

 Starting position

  • Stand erect, keep the hands at their respective sides and feet together.
  • Place the body weight on the balls of the feet. Keep the knees straight but not stiff.
  • Hold the neck straight, abdomen in normal contour and chin drawn in.
  • Focus your eyes at one point straight ahead, keeping the mind calm and body relaxed.

Sequence of steps

  • With the aid of the hands slowly lift the leg and raise it up till it reaches the thigh of the right leg or wherever it reaches according to your capacity,
  • Maintain balance and adjust the left leg by pressing its heel tightly against the opposite groin, the sole of the left foot against the opposite thigh , toes pointing down.
  • After the balance is achieved, join both the palms in front the chest in a prayer pose.
  • Breathe normally, gaze fixed straight ahead on a point and maintain the pose for a few seconds.
  • Bring the left leg down gently, with the help of the hands and repeat the steps with the right leg.

*Initially support of the wall can be taken to achieve balance, if balancing on one feet is a problem.

Limitations/Contradictions

People suffering from severe arthritis, lower back pain, slipped disc and vertigo may limit practice of this asana.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the muscles of the legs, spine and nerve control.
  • Helps correct flat feet.
  • For diabetics, increases circulation in extremities.
  • Helps arrest further degradation in case of osteoporosis.
  • Improves body balance, endurance and alertness.
  • Enhances neuro –muscular co-ordination.

PARVATASANA(MOUNTAIN POSE)

As the name suggests, it derives the benefits from the qualities of a mountain that is – stability, fixity, and strength. This posture provide all round stretch and twist to the spine.

Starting position

Sit in Padmasana/Sukhasana, keeping the hands at their respective sides. Chest thrown well forward, keep the neck straight, the abdomen in normal contour, the chin drawn in and eyes focused on a single point straight ahead.

Sequence of steps

  • Inhaling, in 3 seconds raise both the arms together, from their respective sides, for an upward stretch.
  • Join the palms to each other in this upward stretched position of arms.
  • Either interlace the fingers to keep the palms joined.
  • Keep the hands close to the respective ears, abdomen maintained in normal contour and back straight.
  • Avoid bending the arms at the elbows and wrist, keeping them stretched and straight. Gaze fixed at a single point ahead.
  • Maintain this fully stretched position (palms joined), for 6 seconds, retaining the breath( final position).
  • Returning to starting position: Exhaling , in 3 seconds, first turn the palm position outwards and then, keeping  the arms straight, bring it down to the sides to complete 1 round.

Limitations/Contradictions

  • People suffering from spinal injury and spinal abnormalities.
  • Frozen shoulder and arthritis.

Benefits

  • Corrects minor postural defects of the spine and straightens the muscles of the back.
  • Stretches all the abdominal and pelvic muscles and loosens the hips.
  • Unnatural curvature of the spine and minor displacements of the vertebrae. 
  • Internal organs in the abdominal region get proper message – improves blood circulation.
  • Prolapse (slipping down) of the uterus is improved by providing natural support to the viscera.

PASCHIMOTTANASANA (THE POSTERIOR STRETCH)

The word ‘paschim’ meaning ‘west’ is used in the context of posterior of the body and ‘uttana’ for stretching. The need for spinal fitness is obvious. The practice of this asana and it final form also brings about a sense of humility.

Starting position

  • Sit on mat with legs fully stretched and toes facing upwards.
  • Keep the spine erect, shoulders and neck firm in its place.
  • Hands beside the body, palms facing down.

Sequence of steps

  • Raise both the arms beside the chest, folded at the elbows , parallel to the ground, palms facing down.
  • Exhaling bend forward and simultaneously arching the spine, abdomen drawn in, stretch the hands to hold the big toe.
  • Gently pull the elbows down to touch the ground and bend the head to bring the forehead to the knees.
  • Rest the forehead in the space between the knees and maintain this posture, breathing normally (final position).
  • Return to starting position: Raise the head and letting off the toes, gently straighten the back and bring the hands to the sides.

Limitations/Contradiction

Hernia, hypertension, heart ailments, pregnancy, peptic ulcers, abdominal inflammations, hyper thyroid, serious spinal disorders and myopia.

Benefits

  • The posterior stretch to the spine helps in correcting minor deformities of the curvature of the spine and improves blood circulation.
  • Deep intra–abdominal compression messages the abdominal viscera-provides relief in constipation, weak digestion, sluggish liver.
  • Stretches the superficial and deep muscles of the legs, shoulders and the back.
  • Regular practice prevents recurrence of spinal problems.
  • Helps in cases of sciatica and lumbago.
  • Strengthens sense of surrender, dedication and commitment.

BHUJANGSANA (THE COBRA POSE)

The purpose of this asana is to imbibe the qualities of a cobra that is determination, alertness and precision.

Starting position

  • Lie on the stomach (prone position), on the mat, legs drawn straight and feet together, toes pointing outwards.
  • Fold the arms at the elbows, palms down, resting beside the chest.
  • Rest the forehead on the mat.

Starting position

Sequence of steps

  • Slowly raise the body and neck for a few inches and then exhaling, in 3 seconds, gradually lift the shoulders, thorax and the upper part of the abdomen, supported by the hands, slowly and rhythmically.
  • Keep the body from the navel downwards fixed, raising only the upper portion of the body, above the waist- like the hood of a cobra.
  • Maintain the elbows in position.
  • The deep muscles of the back are to be used to give a gradual but a full backward curve to the spine, thus slowly raising the vertebrae one by one- the pressure on the spinal column travelling down the curve step by step as each vertebra is made to rise and adjust.
  • Maintain this pose for 6 seconds, breathe retained( final position)
  • Returning to starting position: Exhaling, in 3 seconds, slowly and carefully lower the back, thorax and neck to return to starting position.

Limitations/Contradictions

  • Hernia, hypertension, heart ailments and pregnancy.
  • People with protruding belly will have difficulty in assuming a prone position.

Benefits

  • Tones up the deep muscles supporting the spinal column and trunk.
  • Promotes the spinal circulation and keeps the spine flexible.
  • Increases body heat by stimulation of spinal nerves.
  • Messages and stimulates the adrenal gland.
  • Tones up the abdominal muscles through posterior stretch.
  • Improves and deepens breathing.
  • Stimulates appetite.
  • Prevents diseases by aiding elimination through intra-abdominal pressure.
  • Relief in generalized muscular back pain
  • Helps in resolving slipped disc.
  • Alleviates constipation.
  • Helps in menstrual and gynecological disorders.
  • Strengthens will power, increases determination and brings about alertness towards precision in functioning.

PAVANMUKTASANA( THE ANTI-FLATUS POSE)

As the name suggests, is an excellent pose for releasing gas from the digestive tract. 

  • Lie supine at full length on a mat, feet together and hands resting beside the body.
  • Mind is calm and body relaxed. Inhale normally.

Sequence of steps

  • Exhaling, bend the right leg to the knee and draw it towards the abdomen. Clasp the knee with both the hands and pull the knee up to the chest.
  • Wrap the forearms just below the knee( the fingers clasping the opposite elbows), and keep it firmly pressed against the chest. Complete the above steps in 3 seconds, while exhaling.
  • Ensure to rest he head and neck to the floor.
  • Try to maintain the left leg straight.
  • Maintain this pose for 6 seconds with breath suspended (final position).
  • Returning to starting position: Inhaling, in 3 seconds, gently release the clasped hands and slowly straighten the leg to bring it back to the starting position.
  • Without pausing, repeat the above steps with the left leg to complete 1 round.

 Variation

Starting position

  • Lie on your back at full length on a mat, feet together and hands resting beside the body.
  • Mind is calm and body relaxed. Inhale normally.

Sequence of steps

  • Exhaling, bend both the legs at the knee and draw it towards the abdomen. Clasp the knee with both the hands and pull the knee towards your chest.
  • Wrap the forearms just below the knee and keep it firmly pressed against the chest. Complete the above steps in 3 seconds while exhaling.
  • Maintain this pose for 6 seconds with breath suspended (final position).
  • Returning to starting position: Inhaling, in 3 seconds, gently release the clasped hands and slowly straighten the leg to bring it back to the starting position.

Limitations/Contradictions

Abdominal inflammation, cardiac condition, hernia, piles, menstruation and pregnancy.

 Benefits

  • This posture gives significant relief to flatulence by quickening the movement and expulsion of the intestinal flatus.
  • Favorable improvement in cases of flabby abdomen, sub-normal functions of the abdominal viscera and pelvic organs.
  • Relief in case of chronic constipation and sluggish liver.
  • Shoulder muscles, triceps, gluteus maximus and hamstrings are stretched.
  • Offers deep internal pressure massage.
  • Inculcates a feeling of “letting go”.

Yoga adds years to your life, and life to your years. So, start practicing yoga from today and live a healthy life ahead.

Also read the article – Yoga – Genesis, Benefits and Myths by the same author.

About the Author

Smritikana Chakraborty is born and brought up in Guwahati, India. She did her schooling from Guwahati and is currently pursuing B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietician from Nagpur university. She won the title of All Assam Yoga Championship consecutively in the years 2009 & 2010. She was a participant in the National Yoga Championship in 2010 and 2013. Smritikana has completed her teachers training course in Yoga and is now an International registered yoga trainer. The sole purpose of her life is to teach yoga and spread the positivity and magic of yoga all over the world.