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Talasana best for asthmatics edit button Edit

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A.D Pradeep Kumar | calendar 18 February 2024 | 94

Children are familiar with the popular TV hero, Shaktiman's advice to “Sit tallest, stand tallest, walk tallest”. Walking erect permits free and natural `accommodation of the internal organs, enhances personality and confidence.

Centuries ago, yoga of ancient India knew that an erect spine was vital for good health. The yogis, who were keen observers of nature, designed asanas from objects in nature. They understood that Talasana or the palm tree pose offered the best means for stretching the spine, which, in turn increased a person's height.

With the aid of suitable physical exercise, which involves full-length stretching of the body along with a coordinated breathing rhythm, height can be increased to a great extent.

The height of a person depends upon the growth and condition of his bones and the length of his legs and spine. Since the extremities are mainly responsible for variations in height, exercise that provides maximum stretching of the extremities deserves special emphasis.

Any stretching of the body at full length is essential for relieving the compression of the spine cartilages, stretching of the skeletal muscles, especially of the extremities, and encouraging freedom to and growth of the lungs, heart and other vital organs. Moreover, it is also necessary that the spaces between the vertebrae are kept normal for good health. To achieve all these aims, practise Talasana or the palm tree pose in your daily round of asanas.

Begin Talasana by standing erect, your feet 12 inches apart and parallel. Keep your hands at your side. The spine and the neck should be kept straight, and the abdomen in normal contour.

Raise one arm forward slowly, and begin inhaling in such a way as to enable you to complete a full breath by the time the arm reaches a vertical position, simultaneously raising yourself on your toes. Keep the arm touching the ear and palm inwards. With the complete upward stretch of the arm, the deep breath should also be completed. Rise fully on your toes and retaining the breath, stretch your body upward to its maximum height. Maintain the pose for four seconds.

Reverse the whole movement, slowly exhaling as the arm returns to its normal position through a backward and downward motion. Lower the heels simultaneously and assume the original position. Repeat the exercise with the other arm.

Thus, the time in one round of Talasana for each movement and for the breathing should be adjusted as follows:

(a) Raise arm with inhalation, two seconds,

(b) Stretch arm upwards, four seconds,

(c) Lower arm backwards to normal with exhalation, two seconds

(d) Stand still before alternate use of the other arm during suspension of breath, two seconds.

The second variant consists of repeating the above exercise in exactly the same way and proportion as above, except for the use of both the arms together instead of one.

What is uniform is the maximum upwards stretch, the simultaneous rise on the toes and the coordinated breathing suited to the rhythm of all movements.

Talasana stretches the entire body, especially the spine, thorax and the lower abdomen. These, when associated with the appropriate deep breathing, offer the best facility for an all-round expansion of the lungs and hence, the exercise is excellent for asthmatics.

The movements of the upper part of the body help to increase the girth and contour of the chest to develop the respiratory muscles and thus to redouble the vital index. It also increases elasticity, capacity and circulation of the lungs and blood circulation.

You will also learn neuromuscular coordination when you balance on your toes. To keep your balance, fix your gaze on some point opposite you, at the level of your eye.

The attitude that has to be brought in while doing this exercise is jnana, right knowledge, which consists of body awareness, coordination between mind and body, deep understanding single-mindedness, training of the senses and training of the breath.

All asanas that require neuromuscular coordination and balance and that help you to understand your muscles and internal organs need maximum concentration. For only with concentration and knowledge is it position to gain a deeper understanding of yourself.

The overall effect of asanas that require neuromuscular coordination or jnana asanas is in creating better awareness of the body. There are many processes in yoga that help in synchronisation and concentration. Through concentration, you gain control over your senses and also the ability to control the impressions of the subconscious. Concentration or ekagrata ultimately helps you to gain mastery over your senses and ability to know yourself.

Limitations

People with acute cardiac problems and severe back aches should avoid doing Talasana.

(This article is based on the principles advocated by The Yoga Institute, Santacruz)