Saturday, October 18, 2008

Swaiso Exercise

'Swaiso' was originally developed by the founder of Zen, but it fits in well with Yogic philosophy and asanas.
Starting Position
Stand barefoot, comfortably straight, with the feet slightly apart.Keep the feet firmly planted, as though rooted in the ground.

Place arms along the sides of the body, the elbows straight.

Bend each arm at the wrist so that an L-shape is formed by the hand and the arm. Palms should face down towards the ground, the fingers straight but slightly apart to ensure comfort. Gaze with both eyes at a fixed spot in front that you enjoy looking at

Imagine that your arms are like the straight ropes of a swing, and that there is a seat between your two hands. While you are at the imagination level - imagine that you are just seven years old and that you are enjoying sitting and swinging on this imaginary swing. Let go, have fun, ENJOY!
The Movement

i.Swing both arms together naturally, backwards and forwards. Inhale forcefully on the back swing, while the relaxed chest and shoulders open and fill up.Exhale and let the arms come forward on their own, just like on a real swing. You need to focus on the co-ordination between the breath and the movement for the first few breaths and then the rhythm automatically sets in.

ii.Change your direction after every 10 times - e.g. if you are facing East to start with, then turn South, West and finally North.Gradually you may build it up till you are doing 100 times in each direction.
The Benefits'
Swaiso' is a pleasurable starting asana. It aligns, stretches and balances as well as rejuvenates the entire system. It is particularly useful for asthma, breathing problems and allergies, digestive problems, arthritis, backaches, heart diseases, low and high blood pressure and many other problems connected with the internal organs.
As you become good at it visualize that with every inhalation (when stretching back) you are taking in good health and cheerfulness and with every exhalation you are throwing out ill health, sickness and negativity. It helps if you visualize a bright red color on inhalation and a blue color on exhalation.Personal Experience For the past several years I have been practicing my own yoga session with 'Swaiso'. It completely stretches and relaxes the entire system. The ensuing feel good factor is so great that one is motivated to repeat it again and again, day after day! Very soon it becomes a favorite asana because of its innumerable benefits. This is the first asana that I teach a new student.

II.TADASAN (Coconut Tree Pose) ( fig on right )

The word Tada in Sanskrit means 'a mountain'. It is also referred to as 'the pose of the coconut tree'. Tadasan teaches the art of standing correctly, increases awareness of the body and is the foundation for many other asanas.Starting Position Stand with the feet close together, the big toes and the heels touching, or a maximum of 4" apart. Ensure that the body weight is evenly distributed on the arches of both feet and not only on the heels or the toes.

Keep the arms relaxed along the side of the body, palms facing inwards, the head and spine in a straight line.

The Movement

i.Raise the arms, bend the elbows, interlock the fingers, with the palms facing downwards above the head. Keep an internal smile on your face. Breathe in and breathe out, staying aware of your straight and relaxed posture.

ii.Keep the fingers interlocked but turn the palms upwards - inhale - stretch out the elbows and raise the arms over your head, pull the stomach muscles inward, go up on your toes and try to look up as high as you can.

iii.Hold the breath in and maintain the posture for a few seconds, to your own level of comfort.

iv.Exhale - come down on your heels, bring the interlocked hands back above the head, the palms facing upwards.
v.Breathe in and breathe out -keeping the interlocked palms still above your head but turning them downwards.

vi.Relax -unlock the fingers and bring the arms back to the sides of the body.This completes one round. Start with 3 rounds daily and build up to 10 rounds.


Tadasan develops physical and mental balance. It gives a sense of firmness, strength, stillness and steadiness.

It stretches and strengthens the entire spine and its neighbour, the stomach. Naturally, it relieves all ailments connected with both.

It specially helps to get rid of backaches, sciatic pains and arthritis, while toning up the pelvis and the abdomen.
In the beginning it is difficult to keep one's balance and look upwards, so it is perfectly all right to look in front. With practice one can keep looking higher till one is able to look directly above at a particular point in the ceiling. It helps if you imagine that the toes are rooted in the ground, both arms are stretching firmly and steadily upwards like the tall coconut tree, and both the arms and the toes are trying to pull the stomach in their own direction. So the stomach gets gently stretched to the maximum. Focused concentration is the trick for achieving proper balance. It is easier if one keeps the mind fixed on a tiny dot on the wall in front. To get one's balance one can even try walking on the toes with the interlocked arms stretched upwards, palms facing upwards, and then stand still after a few seconds. With practice the movements become very graceful.

III.KATI CHAKRA ASANA ( Spinal Twist) ( fig on left)

Starting Position

Stand straight with the feet about 2 ft apart, and the arms placed at the sides of the body.Inhale and raise the arms sideways bringing them in line with the shoulders, palms facing downwards. Keep the feet fixed on the ground throughout the exercise.

The Movement

i.Exhale and twist the waist sideways to the left so that the right shoulder comes to the front of the body above the centre of the feet, the arms wrapping round the twisted body, the right hand clasped behind the left shoulder and the left hand clasped round the waist from the back - the right palm facing outwards. Eyes look over the left shoulder as far back as possible.

ii.Hold the breath and this twisted posture for a few seconds.

iii.Inhale and come back to the centre position, arms again stretching out in line with the shoulders.

iv.Repeat the movement by exhaling and twisting the body to the right. This time the eyes look back over the right shoulder, the left shoulder comes to the front of the body, the left hand clasps behind the right shoulder, the right hand wraps round the waist.

v.Exhale and come back to the centre position.This completes one round. Do 5 rounds first. Then do 5 more rounds but this time start by first twisting the waist to the right side and then to the left side.
Removes early morning body stiffness, pain and tiredness and strengthens the back. Also tones the waist and hips.
Enjoy the twisting. Do it smoothly, without jerks. Let the waist lead and the rest of the body will follow.Can be done at any time of the day to bring about quick relief from physical and mental tension.


Starting Position
Stand straight with feet together; elbows bent, hands placed on the waist, with the thumbs in front and the other fingers at the back supporting the waist. Keep the back straight throughout.The Movement

i.Inhale - bend the right leg and lift the knee up as high as it will come, aiming it at the nose. Exhale - lower the leg while keeping the feet together.

ii.Inhale - bend the left leg and lift the left knee as high as it will come.

iii.Exhale - lower the leg and feet together.Repeat the above movements 5 times.

iv.Inhale - bend the right leg backwards, aiming at your right buttock with the right heel. Exhale - lower the leg and bring the feet together.

v.Inhale - bend the left leg backwards, aiming at the left buttock.Exhale - lower the leg and feet together.Repeat the above movements 5 times. Benefits

Loosens and relaxes the legs and knees.

Energises the entire system.


Starting PositionStand straight with feet together. Upper arms should be placed along the sides of the body, elbows bent, forearms parallel to the ground, palms facing upwards and formed into fists with the thumbs tucked in.

1. Boxing With Alternate FistMovement

i. Inhale deeply and then relax completely.

ii. Forcefully exhale, throwing the right arm forward, straightening the right elbow, simultaneously turning the fist downwards. The whole right arm becomes parallel to the ground, in line with the shoulder while the left arm remains stationary and bent at the elbow.

iii. Inhale -bring the right arm back to starting position turning the fist upwards, bring the bent right arm parallel to the bent left arm which has remained immobile all along.

iv. Forcefully exhale, throwing the left arm forwards and straightening the left elbow, simultaneously turning the left fist downwards while the right arm remains bent at the elbow.

v. Inhale - bring the left arm back to starting position, turning the left fist upwards.Repeat the above 'boxing with alternate fist' exercise 5 times. 2. Boxing With Both FistsAfter a few days the above practice may be followed by throwing out both fists together. Other details are the same as given above for alternate fists.Benefits Strengthens and shapes the arms and elbows. Biceps and arm muscles are developed.

Deformities of the arms and shoulders are corrected.

This repeated forceful breathing strengthens and clears the chest.
Personal ExperienceThis practice helps one to get rid of all negativity from one's system. After you have begun to enjoy this practice, pretend that you are boxing someone towards whom you have negative feelings. Aim straight and box hard. Soon you will find that you no longer house negativity towards that person! Later it can even be used effectively to box out from within the negative emotion itself.


Starting PositionStand straight with feet together, arms at the sides, and hands clenched into fists with the thumbs tucked in.
The Movement

i. Inhale deeply through the nostrils. Hold the breath in, swing the arms round in a circle, backwards, rotating them alternately like the sails of a windmill.

ii. Stop the movement when you cannot hold the breath in any longer and exhale vigorously from the mouth.

iii. Relax and take 3 normal breaths. Repeat 5 rounds.

iv. Inhale deeply - hold the breath in, repeat the exercise but this time swing the arms forwards, again in windmill fashion. Caution: Do not do this forward movement if you have any type of neck or shoulder pain.


Tones the nerves.

Strengthens the arms and hands.

Develops the capacity of the lungs and the chest - therefore is good for all problems connected with both these organs.

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