Above, the famous FLAG POSE. Courtesy of http://www.beastskills.com/the-flag/
Basic exercises for DUMMIES
Any exercise depends upon 3 factors. 1. your body type, 2. where you live, 3. your age.
(1) YOUR BODY TYPE
There are three body types according to Ayurveda. VATA, PITTA, KAPHA. Bruce lee is a classic example of a vata person, Jason Statham – Pitta, and Zach Galifianakis of the movie The Hangover–a kapha.
Vata people should exercise the least, Pitta–moderately (otherwise baldness) and Kapha — heavily.
(2) WHERE YOU LIVE
It means the weather of the place where you live. A person living in a hot place (VATA-PITTA) say (India) should exercise moderately. A person living in cold places (KAPHA) like europe, america, russia should exercise heavily with FAST MOVEMENTS like running to stimulate vata and pitta. A person living in tropical or rainy, marshp places (VATA) should exercise the least.
IMPORTANT: Running or jogging in tarred road or tarmac will WEAR your JOINTS. If you run always do so on grassy surface, beach sand, soft earth. And dont run marathons like Milind Soman (see how his hair started greying), it is the quickest way to death and is damaging to the body. The original marathon run by the greek pheidippides was to deliver an urgent message and was not a SPORTS ITEM then. Nowadays FOOLS run marathons at any slightest excuse. However, on tarmac or tarred roads you can RACE WALK. This is way better than running on roads. It should, however, not be overdone.
Likewise, one must exercise seasonally. Exercise less in rainy season; moderately in summer and heavily in autumn. Autumn or Sharad season is the best season in Ayurveda. Hence this prayer in Atharva Veda:
A hundred autumns may we see.
A hundred autumns may we live.
A hundred autumns may we know.
A hundred autumns may we grow.
A hundred autumns may we thrive.
A hundred autumns may we be.
A hundred autumns may we bide.
A hundred, yea, and even more.
(3) ACCORDING TO AGE
Children should play, Teenagers and Adults should exercise. People above 60 yrs, sick people, and those feeling weak should not exercise.
WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE
Any basic exercise should involve loosening the joints to gain flexibility. Bending forwards and backwards and twisting to both sides. You can learn basic exercises from seeing baba ramdev’s videos in youtube or from isha foundation or from any other place.
When britishers can to india they replaced traditional exercises and martial arts with Physical training or PUNY TRAINING (emasculating). Do you remember learning this as school students. There is a world of difference between bharat’s Rishi designed exercises and those by foolish white men. Dhand-bhaitaks or push-ups and sit ups were staple exercises of bharat.
Traditionally the basic exercise done by yogis and householders was called SURYA NAMASKAR. This is for general health as it workouts the basic energy centres. If you do it FAST you get STAMINA; if you do it SLOWLY you get STRENGTH. Since there are several styles of doing surya namaskar it is best to learn somebody. In isha yoga, it is taught as part of hata yoga. Surya Namaskar is traditionally done in set of even numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…. A healthy person is expected to do 12 to 16 sets. Surya Namaskar if synchronized with breathing is a form of meditation as well. To learn surya namaskar see link below:
There is also its counter part the CHANDRA NAMASKAR which calms your mind.
There is then the specialized surya namaskar called SURYA SHAKTI or SHAKTI NAMASKAR. The difference is that here dands or hindu push ups is added. Check this link below. The person shows a little more powerful surya namaskar and shakti namaskar.
This specialized exercise was done by khusti or body builders in india in a set of 108.
This can also be learned from Isha Yoga.
Well, this one is not an physical exercise but energy execise. This can also be learnt form ISha Yoga.
Activities like Swimming, walking, cycling, playing games etc keep you fit but wont give your body a work out as exercise does. Human beings have to do this because of the special design of the body.
IMPORTANT: LIke as i said before women shouldnt over exercise. There are restrictions for pregnant women as to what exercise or activity to do or not do. They shouldnt do heavy exercises during pregnancy. There are however allowed to do activities that stengthen their pelvic muscles to allow easy childbirth.
WHEN TO EXERCISE
It is best to do exercise with the rising of the sun, as there will be natural light. That is in the morning. It is best to do exercise once a day if you do other physical activities during the day. If not, twice a day. One should not exercise immediately before or after eating. After exercise leave 1 to one and a half hours before eating. And after eating a gap of 4 to 5 hours before doing mild exercise.
HOW MUCH TO EXERCISE
One must stop exercising after the whole body sweats from head to toe. One must rest for an hour before bathing/shower.
Now, the western concept of health is to maintain the body. Whereas in bharat, Susruta one of famous Ayurvedic exponents defined health as:
“sama dosha sama agnischa sama dhatu mala kriyaaha|
Prasanna atma indriya manaha swastha iti abhidheeyate”
Which means, One is in perfect health when the Three doshas ( vata, pitta and Kapha), the Digestive fire ( digestion, assimilation and metabolism), all the body tissues & components (Dhatus) (the entire physical body), all the excretory functions (the physiological functions of urination and defecation) are in perfect order with a pleasantly disposed and contented mind, senses and spirit.
A HEALTHY MAN should have his back arched backwards and his underbelly tucked in (not the washboard type). A HEALTHY WOMAN on the other hand should have her back arched backwards and her underbelly protruding outwards a little bit. That my friends is called body fat and it is very essential especially for woman. DO you know that the modern skinny woman like Deepika Padukone gives birth only once or twice and that too by cesarean, whereas in old times, 10 or 12 childbirths. Thats some sort of strength, right!
Now can the see the world of difference between the west and the east. I dont know why still we are eating the shit of the west. And, it is these deranged people who come to kerala which has a unique tradition of Ayurveda, to cure their foolishness. Now Steffi Graf is appointed by Kerala govt to promote ayurveda.