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The body, brain and mind thrive on a rested nervous system. A normal day needs us to be active and passive in turns. When this response of the nervous system goes awry, stress sets in bringing with it a host of problems — the hormonal balance takes a tumble and so do the brain responses. The hormonal system works with the brain to circulate messages between the brain and the body. This communication between the brain and hormones is what regulates basic activities, such as eating, drinking, metabolism, intimacy, reproduction, and all other bodily functions.

Researches indicate that a short bout of yoga kick-starts the brain far more effectively than any other exercise. As little as 20 minutes spent on the mat makes your brain work better, focus more and sift through information faster. It also reduces anxiety levels and rolls back the stress hormone production.

When you hold a posture, the flow of blood is obstructed in certain areas and when you relax your body, blood rushes back. The high pressure enhances deep penetration and opening up of capillaries. The process also benefits the circulatory system by replenishing starved nerves, aiding the digestive system and triggering the flow of hormones while pushing out impurities from the body.

An old Sanskrit text says “when the nervous system is relieved of all its impurities, there appear the perceptible signs of success ... the glowing colour of health”.

The 20 MINUTE YOGA BOUT

Roll out your mats and get started

1 Trikonasana (Triangle posture): It strengthens the hip and is a good stretching exercise for the sides. Increase holding time with deep breathing for full benefits.

2 Ustrasana (Camel pose): Follow proper breathing for full benefits. Inhale up and exhale in the hold and continue deep breathing.

3 Marjariasana (Cat-cow): Spine opener combination posture. Inhale in the cat pose and exhale in the cow pose.

4 Ardhmatsyendrasana (Half fish pose): For spine flexibility.

5 Dhanurasana (The Bow): For the digestive system

6 Utkatasana (Chair pose): For nerve strengthening.

7 Sirshasana (Headstand): The king of all postures.

8 Parvatasana (Mountain pose) with leg up: Blood shunter.

9 Supta baddha konasana (Reclining bound angle pose): Hormone stimulator.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Hold each posture for 30 to 60 seconds and watch the fat slip away.

Next issue: The fifth and the last key: The Yoga Smile

This is a 12-part yoga series titled “Gateway to a Great Way of Life”. This is an interactive series, in which we will bring you practical DIY techniques. If you have questions regarding an ailment or how yoga can help you overcome emotional obstacles, write to tabloid@gulfnews.com

For more information go to gulfnews.com or artisticyoga.com