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Maintaining Homeostasis for Good Health

 Prof Adrian Kennedy

2. Yogasanas

It is widely known that exercise is good for health and beauty. Exercise gives the body stamina, strength and flexibility and brings along several benefits. It improves respiration, reduces blood pressure improves diabetes, reduces obesity, improves mobility, alleviates joint ailments, strengthens the muscles, enhances energy, reduces stress, prevents insomnia and so on.

While western forms of exercise such as aerobics, jogging, swimming, gym exercise and calisthenics seek to improve external body shape and performance, eastern exercises tend to go inwards and work to benefiting the internal organs. Eastern exercises such as Tai Chi, Chikung and our very own yogasanas increase endorphins, generate alpha brain waves, purify the blood, strengthen the immune system, induce relaxation and create homeostasis and internal balance.

Differences between Western and Eastern exercises



Increases heart rate Reduces heart rate
Increases breathing Slows down breathing
Dynamic movements Passive movements
Aims at external body Aims at internal organs
Causes fatigue Causes relaxation
Increases brain waves Reduces brain waves
This is not to say that one method is better than the other. Each has different objectives and benefits, and is therefore suitable for different ages and personalities.

While there are several hundred yogasanas - 840,000 or more - the following basic asanas, if done, will greatly benefit internal organs and enhance external beauty.

Yogasanas are, as a general rule, done gently. Each position is held for about a minute. Each yogasana is performed two to three times. Breathing is gentle and recovery rest of one or two minutes is taken between asanas to relax the body and bring breathing back to normal. Usually, the suryanamaskara series of asanas is done at the beginning of the session to ready the body for the yogasanas to follow.




Ardh-halasana (double leg raises) Abdomen, back, reproductive organs
Sarbangasana (shoulder stand): Brain, nervous system, thyroid, circulation
Halasana (plough pose): Spine, nervous system, back, lungs
Matsyasana (fish pose): Chest, neck, thyroid, lungs
Bhujangasana (cobra pose): Lower back, reproductive organs lungs, spine, chest, abdominal organs
Salabhasana (locust post): Buttocks, legs, hips, constipation, gas and digestion
Dhanurasana (bow pose): Abdomen, digestion, legs, back.
Naukasana (boat pose) (V sit-ups) Spine, abdomen, chest, etc
Bakrasana (half spinal twist): Spine, fat on waist, gas, digestive organs
Paschimottasana (sitting toe touch): Digestion, spine, legs.
Pranayama (deep breathing) 10 rounds -  anulome / vilome.– alternate nostril breathing Lungs and circulatory system
Shavasana (corpse pose) – as often as required For physical/mental relaxation

Tips for practicing yogasanas

  • Empty bowels before the practice
  • Practice yogasanas on a light stomach
  • Breathe normally or as advised
  • Exercise gently without strain
  • Clothing should be loose and comfortable
  • Mornings or evenings are best for yoga
  • Beginners will require expert supervision
  • Start with suryanamaskara
  • Do shavasana between asanas
  • End with pranayama
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