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March 2012
Yoga For Adolescent Girls
Nisha Gulati
 
Growing up can create a whirlwind of complexities… Being a teen girl isn’t a piece of cake! I mean your body transforms completely, both physically and emotionally.

Have you noticed weight gain? Bigger hips? Uneven breast growth? Hair growing from your armpits and genitals? Perhaps more hair on your face? Do you get moody? Do your parents anger you? Do they seem to make a huge deal about everything?

Believe it or not girls, but your bodies are preparing for pregnancy; you are going through PUBERTY. It’s your time for transition from girlhood to womanhood!

Yoga is one of the best ways to stay fit, toned and energetic. It has therapeutic values and is meant for everyone. Some added benefits include improved posture so you look taller,
heightened concentration, reduction of menstrual cramps, development of a positive attitude, and of course regulating your bodily functions. Here are some yoga asanas that I’d suggest. Please practise all postures using a yoga mat, be gentle with your body and
remember to practise with consistency. Have fun!

Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose
(Relieves stress and depression, relieves menstrual discomfort, back pain and fatigue, and strengthens and tones arm and leg muscles)

  • Come on to the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your knees aligned with your hips and hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.
  • Inhale deeply and lift your hips and butt up towards the ceiling, forming an upward arch.
  • Your arms should be straight and aligned with your head. Do not let your head hang.
  • Hold for 1-3 minutes.
  • Exhale as you bend your knees to the floor and relax in a child’s pose.
Tadasana or Tree Pose
(Great for improving concentration, focus, balance and posture)
  • Stand up straight, feet together side by side. Leave no gaps.
  • Keep arms relaxed by your sides.
  • Focus on one spot at eye level.
  • Shift your weight to your left leg and grab your right foot with your left hand.
  • Bring the foot up as high as possible (to the top of your pants/shorts);sole of the foot should face the ceiling.
  • Carefully push right knee back and simultaneously push your hips forward.
  • Stretch your spine up towards the ceiling.
  • Keep the stomach contracted; keep breathing normal through your nose.
  • Make sure your shoulders and hips are aligned.
  • Slowly bring your right hand up in a prayer position and if you can maintain your balance, then only slowly join with the left hand.
  • Hold for a count of 5 and as you keep practising make it 10.
  • Relax, place right foot down gently.
  • Repeat with the left side.
Kapalbhati
(A breathing technique for cleansing. Great for your internal organs, digestive system, tightening and firming the abs)
  • Kneel down on the floor.
  • Place your hand on your knees, arms straight not tense.
  • If your knees or ankles ache, sit down relaxed in the Indian or lotus style.
  • Focus on fast exhales from the mouth; inhale naturally.
  • Blow hard from the mouth; your stomach should be pushed in with equal force (imagine someone punching you) at the same time.
  • Feeling dizzy or stomach cramps are normal.
  • Do for a count of 30; relax and repeat. Increase as you develop more stamina
Pavanmuktasana or Wind Removing Pose
(Improves digestive system, cleanses colons, helps against extra retention and bloating during menstruation)
  • Lie down on your back.
  • Lift your right leg up, interlock your 10 fingers and pull your right knee down towards your right shoulder. Do not pull down towards your rib cage.
  • Make sure your left leg is firmly planted on the floor if the calf muscle is touching the floor, if it is not flex your left foot.
  • Keep your gaze down towards the centre of your chest so that your chin presses down towards the chest and your neck is flat on the floor.
  • Hold for 1-3 minutes and relax by putting the right leg down.
  • Repeat with the left side.
  • Now lift both the legs up, wrap your arms around the legs and grab your left elbow with your right hand and right elbow with your left hand.
  • Keep your feet together side by side.
  • Squeeze your knees together.
  • Look down chin pressed down towards your chest, with the back of the neck flat on the floor; shoulders should be flat on the floor.
  • Slowly relax the lower hip on the floor.
  • Hold 1-3 minutes and relax.
Size zero role models in the entertainment, modelling and advertising industries, plague us as a society. As a result, poor body image and low self-esteem are widespread making young girls more susceptible to eating disorders. Love yourself and remember curves are in!
Nisha Gulati is Bikram Yoga Instructor Mumbai


    
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