By Amitabha Deb
Keywords: 4-4 breathing practice, dandasana pose, shavasana pose, motionless pose, tadasana pose, mountain pose, yoga, yoga for kids and teens, benefits for kids, sports conditioning, body awareness, self confidence, self esteem, yoga poses, yoga mind, ancient practice, Patanjali, books about yoga for kids and teens
The 4-4 breath is a basic breathing practice that
is used in several different exercises. We will use it as the basic
breathing pattern for most exercises and asanas.
1. Inhale and exhale through the nostrils.
2. Count to 4 for each (in rhythm with pulse rate), as you breathe in and out.
3. Begin with a straight spine. Sit or lie on a comfortable surface. Neck should be lifted and chin relaxed and parallel to the floor while sitting. Legs are relaxed and feet should feel loose.
4. Without actively feeling pulse, focus attention on your heart beat. Each beat is one count. Begin to inhale and count to four in rhythm with your heart. When you reach a final count of four, pause for a second and begin to exhale, counting to 4 for the entire count.
5. Soon you will have a sense of mentally feeling your heart beat and you will be able to do a 4-4 breath without having to focus intently on it.
Notes: The basic comfortable count is 4 counts. If this is too difficult at first, then you should drop down to the count of three. Increase your count as you become more comfortable with this practice.
This is a basic yoga posture. It teaches one to sit correctly without lifting the shoulders up. Danda means rod. In our body, the spine is the axis which is also called meru-danda in Sanskrit.
Sitting on the floor, extend your legs. Make sure the thighs, knees and big toes are joined too. In case your body does not let you allow that, do as much as your body permits without hurting yourself.
Place the palms on the floor beside your hips, fingers pointing forward. Expand your chest with drawing your shoulder back. Keep your back as straight as a danda or rod. If possible tighten your knees and stretch the back of your legs. The shoulders should never be lifted up. Try to stay in the posture for 20-40 counts before you come to shavasana or resting pose.
In Sanskrit terms ‘shava’ means dead body. In simple terms it means an unconscious/dead, motionless pose. This asana is done after every asana to rest the body. Without the practice of ‘shavasana’ at the end of each asana, one cannot reap the real benefits of yoga.
1. Lie totally motionless
2. Loosen every part of the body: Toes, fingers, thighs, arms, stomach, throat, lips, cheeks, and ear (in later issues we will discuss a body scanning exercise called yoga nidra as a part of relaxation exercise)
1. In shavasana, we never lie crooked
2. The body does not move and no tilting of head is allowed.
1. It relaxes the nerve and brains
2. Removes fatigue
3.Teaches concentration, calms the emotions
1. Lie flat on our back with legs stretched out and slightly apart. Drop your feet sideways as possible (Shavasana, Figure 1)
2. Arms to be kept by the sides (about 50 degrees away from the chest), with palms turned up. If possible drop your feet sideways (Shavasana, Figure 2)
3. Close your eyes and keep the chin pointing toward the chest, breathe normally and relax (Shavasana, Figure 3)
‘Tada’ means mountain. The highest mountains are the Himalayas. It is said that the Himalayas have always been a favorite retreat for Indian sages who retired to these quiet and beautiful mountains to practice yoga.
This pose teaches
you to stand straight and tall and strong like a mountain.
DO: Be firm and stand weight on both your feet. Keep shoulder level with each other, relax your facial muscles.
DON’T: Don’t hold your breath and protrude your buttocks. There should be no movement/adjustment after you come to final posture.
BENEFITS: This pose teaches you to stand correctly. Make the back straight and strong and makes the mind alert.
Dr. Amitabha Deb, Expert on Yoga for Children: Dr. Deb is a 200 Hours Yoga Alliance teacher trainee and a certified Children’s Yoga Trainer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org He is a Biomedical Scientist by profession.
Updated March 2011