If you thought that yoga was all about bending and twisting your body in odd shapes, it's time to rethink. It is much more. It means the union of body, soul & mind. This century-old practice is achieved through postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayamas) and meditation. It helps balance the elements of the body.

Yoga is not a religion. It is a way of living whose aim is "a healthy mind in a healthy body".

Yogic exercises recharge the body with cosmic energy, it facilitates -

- Attainment of perfect equilibrium and harmony

- Promotes self-healing

- Removes negative blocks from the mind and toxins from the body

- Enhances personal power

- Increases self-awareness

- Helps in attention, focus and concentration, especially important for children

- Reduces stress and tension in the physical body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system

Here are the best five exercises of yoga which will help you to lead a healthy life -

1. Shava Asana (The Corpse / Death Pose)

This is a relaxation pose!

Just lie down on the mat, close your eyes and try to put all your weight on the ground. Concentrate on your breathing; breathe deeply and slowly with your nose.

Learn to be patient and observe the way your weight is shifting towards the ground and let go of everything, all the heaviness and all the tiredness.

Gently open your eyes and roll over to your side before coming to seating position.

The mantra of this asana is to just relax.

Benefits: It helps in rejuvenating body, mind and soul.

2. Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)

Lay on your stomach, placing your palms down just under your shoulders. Without letting your elbows drop away from your body, have them point straight back behind you.

Push gently on your hands to slowly lift your upper body and head and inhale.

Do it slowly, and don’t come up too high, your elbow should not become straight.

Slowly let your body come down and with your forehead touch the floor, while doing this, exhale.

Do this 3- 5 times.

Benefits: It helps relieve back pain and strengthens spine.

3. Adho Mukha Svanasana (The Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Start on your hands and knees on All Fours.

Keep your fingers wide apart and press your hands and feet firmly into the mat in downward direction.

At the same time, lift your hips and tailbone to the sky, so your body is in a V-shape.
Let your head be down and relax.

Stay in this position and hold for 2-3 breaths and finally rest in Balasana.

Benefits: It helps in congestion and increases blood flow to sinuses. A great exercise to cure cold.

4. Balasana (The Child Pose)

In this asana, the body faces the floor in fetal position. This is passive and relaxing pose.

The forehead has to touch the floor, if your forehead cannot touch the floor, use yoga block or a book.

Rest and breathe for as long as you want.

Benefits: This pose helps soothe headaches as it relaxes upper back and neck.

5. Uttanasana (Forward Bending Pose)

Stand with your feet parallel and hip width apart. Fold forward slowly while exhaling.

Allow your arms to come forward. If your hamstrings are tight or your lower back is sensitive, bend your knees.

Let your head bang and relax your head and neck completely and let go of all your stress out the top of your head.

Hold for 2- 3 breaths and gently come to standing position while inhaling.

So, yoga is not only about asanas but also about healthy diet, correct postures, emotional balance and proper sleep. Once you reach the gateway of this proper stability, then with yoga you are sure to attain a healthy body, mind and soul.