Exercise for Longevity
Kundalini Yoga does offer some very unique and even peculiar exercises and that variety is actually something which many find quite attractive about this type of yoga. The one thing that you cannot say about Kundailni Yoga is that it is boring :-). There are exercises where you are are sticking your tongue out, shouting, dancing, shaking and even exercises where you are rolling on the floor or flapping your arms like a bird. Good fun!
As compared to all these unusual exercises, the one I am going to discuss today is probably quite tame, but recently I came across some research on longevity which actually used this very technique to determine if you will live longer. The reasoning and thinking behind this research is really quite sound and I thought the results of this study would be very interesting to all of you as well.
The technique that was used to test longevity was simple – you had to sit down and stand up. In the study you had to simply sit down and then get back up, while in the yoga technique you have to sit down in the cross legged posture and then stand back up. The challenging part, of course, is that you have to do this without using your hands or knees.
For the study, if you were able to sit down without using your hands, legs, knees, elbows, arms, etc you got 5 points, and if were able to get up the same way, you would get another 5 points. So 10 points were maximum. 1 point was taken away for using any body part, such as a hand, knee or arm, either on the way down or on the way up. Also, if you were unsteady as you went up or down, you lost half a point. So what did the results show?
Those who got the lowest score, between 0 and 3 were 6.5 times more likely to die in the next six years, than those who scored a 10. And as the scores increased the likely hood of dying kept diminishing, with those who scored in the 6 to 7.4 range, were only 1.8 times more likely to die. So the essential conclusion was that being able to sit and stand without support is a good indication of your overall health from a strength, agility, coordination, balance and flexibility standpoint. Not bad for a simple yoga technique :-).
There are actually several Kundalini Yoga sets which incorporate the Sit-Stand exercise and I will certainly share those complete sets with you in the near future, but for now you are welcome to use this exercise in your own routine or independently as a barometer of how healthy you are.
In addition, you can also keep track of your improving health by seeing how you can improve your score over time. If you only score a 1 or 2 initially, that is ok, start living a healthy life and incorporating yoga and fitness in it and see if you can over time improve your score. Give yourself 3 months and then retest, you might be surprised of how much you can improve and thus extend your life.
More Yoga Exercises for Longevity and Long Life:
Yoga, in general, is excellent for health, healing and longevity. There is a great deal of research now that supports the wonderful health benefits of yoga, but there are also specific yoga poses and exercises which are known for their anti-aging and life promoting benefits. Below you will find a few of these techniques.
More Yoga Exercises and Techniques:
In addition to the exercises and poses above, you will find more yoga techniques in the following 2 online collections - Free Hatha Yoga Galleries and Free Kundalini Yoga Exercises. Also, you will find complete yoga sets and free online yoga classes on the following pages Free Online Yoga Sets and Free Online Yoga Classes. I hope you take advantage of this ancient wisdom to help you improve your health and live longer.
For Yoga and Meditation Certification Students and Yoga Teachers:
For students enrolled in the Online Yoga Teacher Certification Program or Online Meditation Instructor Training Program, I do hope you introduce this interesting exercise to your students. Make sure you are sensitive to the different levels of your students and emphasize to them to not be competitive. Yoga is about “you and you alone”, it is not about competing with others. So each student should only be looking to see how they can improve their score over time and not be competing with other students regarding that.
Caution: Although this exercise sounds simple, for seniors, those who are weak, overweight or those with bad knees, this exercise can be VERY challenging. Also, to get up and sit down without using any body parts, especially hands and knees, is definitely not easy. So please guide your students accordingly.
Sit-Stand Yoga Exercise
Below you will find details of how to practice this exercise along with step-by-step instructions, benefits and practice tips. Please note that there are 2 small difference between the technique used in the study and the yoga version of this exercise. These difference are as follows:
1. In the version used for the longevity test, you are attempting to get up without using any body part for leverage, but in the Kundalini Yoga version you are simply to sit and stand without using your hands (you can use one or two knees on the way up or the way down). So if you are going to use this technique for the longevity test and score yourself, then you should try it the way it was designed in the study.
2. In the yoga version you sit down cross-legged, while for this study you simply had to sit down.
A. How to do Sit-Stand Yoga Exercise:
- Start by sitting on the floor with your legs crossed.
Next try to stand back up without using your hands for help. Note for the longevity test you should try to do this exercise without using hands or knees.
- Once standing, sit back down with your legs crossed and again try not to use your hands to help you sit down.
- Repeat 10 times and build up to 26 to 52 repetitions over time.
- Try to build up to 52 repetitions in a row.
C. Sit-Stand Yoga Exercise Benefits:
- Helps you develop lower body strength and tone your legs and buttocks.
- Helps your heart and improves your circulatory system.
- Improving how you do this correlates directly to how long you live. So this exercise promotes longevity.
- Improves the flexibility in your hips, knees and ankles.
- Improves your agility, balance and coordination.
D. Practice Tips for Sit-Stand Yoga Exercise:
- As I have indicated above, this exercise is not as easy to do as you might think, especially with using no leverage, so please be careful when trying it.
- Don’t try this on a slippery floor, especially if you are trying to do it without any leverage.
- Careful of your hips and knees when doing this exercise.
- If sitting with your legs crossed is difficult you can simply sit down with your legs in front of you.
- To motivate yourself, if you start to tire, remember all the benefits that this exercise bestows and keep going!
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