Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekly Yoga Exercise - Wednesday



Santolanasana (balancing pose)

Sit in vijrasana. Stand up on the knees and place the palms of the hands on the floor beneath the shoulders. Raise the buttocks and straighten the knees. Move the

shoulders forward and drop the buttocks until the body is straight. The arms should be vertical. Focus the gaze on a fixed point in front at the eye level. Hold the

final position for a few a short duration. Lower the knees to the floor. Relax in marjari-asana or shashankasana.

Variations 1: Assume the final position of santolanasana. Slowly raise the left arm, keeping the body straight and roll onto the right so that the chest faces forward.

Rest the upper arm and hand along the trunk and thigh. Rollback to the initial position and repeat the movement to the left side.

Variation 2: Assume the final position of santolasana. Focus the eye on a point in front of the body. Raise the right arm and place it behind the back so that the

forearm rests across the small of the back. Lower the arm and repeat on the other side.

Variation 3: Assume the final position of santolasana. Focus the eye on a point in front of the body. Either keep both hands on the floor and assume the raised arm

position of variation 2. Raise the right leg, stretching it back and up. Hold for a short duration. Lower the leg and arm. Repeat on the left side.

Breathe normally on the base position. Retain the breath inside while practising the variations.

Up to 5times on each side.

Physical – on maintaining balance. Spiritual- on manipura chakra.

This asana improves the nervous balance and develops a sense of inner equilibrium and harmony. It strengthens the muscles of the arms, shoulders and spine

and balances the interaction between the dorsal and ventral muscles.

(Lord of the Dance Pose)

The root word "Nata" refers to actor and dancer, Raja means "the king." Natraj is another name for Shiva, who is also known as the cosmic dancer. His dance symbolizes cosmic energy in its "five actions:" creation, maintenance, and destruction or re-absorption of the world, concealment of authentic being, and grace.


Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee.

Press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong.

Try to keep your torso relatively upright. The first is to reach back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. To avoid compression in your lower back, actively lift your pubis toward your navel, and at the same time, press your tailbone toward the floor.

Begin to lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso.

Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor.

Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.

The second option with the hands is to sweep your right hand around behind your back and catch hold of the inner left foot.

Sweep the left hand back and grab the outside of the left foot. This variation will challenge your balance even more.

Raise the thigh as described above. This second variation will increase the lift of your chest and the stretch of your shoulders.

Stay in the pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Then release the grasp on the foot, place the left foot back onto the floor, and repeat for the same length of time on the other side.

Full Pose

Perform first two steps as described above.

Turn your left arm actively outward (so the palm faces away from the side of the torso), bend the elbow, and grip the outside of the left foot. (You can also grab the big toe with the first two fingers and the thumb.)

The fingers will cross the top of the foot, the thumb will press against the sole.

Inhale, lift the left leg up, and bring the thigh parallel to the floor.

As you do this, rotate the left shoulder in such a way that the bent elbow swings around and up, so that it points toward the ceiling. It requires extreme flexibility to externally rotate and flex the shoulder joint in this way.

Reach the right arm straight forward, in front of the torso and parallel to the floor.

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, release, and repeat on the second side for the same length of time.

Anatomical stress points will be groins, thighs, chest, lungs, shoulders and spine. Many beginners, when lifting the leg, tend to cramp in the back of the thigh. Be sure to keep the ankle of the raised foot flexed; that is, draw the top of the foot toward the shin.


Stretches the shoulders and chest

Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen

Strengthens the legs and ankles

Improves balance


Asana is not recommended in the cases of:

High or low blood pressure

Serious lower-back injury.

Knee injury.

Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose)

Vira = hero. Virabhadra = the name of a warrior who was created by the Hindu god Shiva, lord of destruction and patron of yogis, out of a clump of his own hair.


• Come into Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
• Bring the arms up alongside the ears into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose).
• Either keep the palms shoulder width, or, for a greater challenge and the classic pose, bring the hands together.
• Inhale and step the feet apart into a wide Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose).
• Exhale and turn the trunk – hips and pelvis included – to face out over the front leg.
• Inhale a breath. Exhale and bend the right leg at the hip and ankle and take the thigh out so that shin and thigh make a 90° angle. The thigh bone should be parallel to the floor and the shin should be vertical. Do not take the knee past the ankle, as this puts undue pressure on the joint.
• Look up at the raised thumbs for the classic pose. If this is hard on the neck, keep looking forward.
• Hold the position for several breaths.
• Inhale and come back up out of the pose, keeping the arms lifted, and return to face center.
• Repeat on the second side.

Practice Points

• Ground down through the big toe mound of the front foot and draw the shin up.
• Reach the front thigh forward out of the hip.
• Extend the back leg away from the front and press into the back heel.
• Reach the tailbone forward towards the front knee and broaden the lower back.
• Broaden the back ribs and turn them to make the trunk even.
• Turn the chest and collarbones up towards the ceiling.
• Reach both arms up towards the ceiling.
• Soften the neck and the shoulders.


To focus on the legs and trunk and to relieve the shoulders and neck, do the pose with the hands on the hips. Press the elbows in towards each other behind the back to help activate the sides of the trunk.


Utthita Padmasana

The Elevated Lotus Posture (whose original Indian name is Utthita Padmasana) in Yoga is very suitable for strengthening the muscles and joints (especially wrists) of the arms.

Note that Utthita means Elevated, whereas Padma means Lotus. The posture gets its name because the entire body form (resembling a Lotus) is lifted above the ground level using both hands. The Elevated Lotus Posture is obviously a variation of the Lotus Posture (Padmasana).


Sit on the ground with your head and spine erect. Extend your legs forward such that your knees and heels are placed together. With the help of your hands, place your right foot on the left thigh and then your left foot on the right thigh. See the Lotus Posture (Padmasana) for more details.
Place your palms on the ground next to your hips. Gradually and smoothly raise your body above ground level so that your entire body weight rests on the palms of your hands.
Remain in this final posture till you can hold your breath in the lungs or your breakpoint*. Lower your body and simultaneously exhale.

Tips and Comments

Step 1 may be alternatively performed by placing first your left foot on the right thigh and then your right foot on the left thigh. This periodic exchange of feet ensures that both legs are built uniformly.
This yoga posture can be performed only after gaining mastery over the Lotus Posture (Padmasana). It is harder to perform than the Lotus Posture (Padmasana) because it involves balancing the whole body weight on just the two hands and wrists.
In the early stages, you may feel a trembling sensation in the hands. But by practicing this yoga posture regularly, you can overcome this weakness.
*Breakpoint is the time upto which you can comfortably remain in a yoga posture. It varies from individual to individual depending on one's fitness, age and will power.


The Elevated Lotus Posture (Utthita Padmasana) provides adequate exercise to various muscles (biceps, triceps, and brachioradialis) of the arms. It also helps strengthen all the joints (wrists, elbows, and shoulders) present in the arms.
The posture strengthens the muscles of the abdominal organs and helps in improving the intestinal system. Hence, it assists in treating digestive disorders.


Basic Facts about the Yoga Posture (Asana)
The Mountain Posture (whose original Indian name is Parvatasana) in Yoga is suitable for reducing arthritic aches in the shoulders as well as for stretching the upper body.

Note that Parvata means Mountain. The posture gets its name because the person performing it resembles a Mountain with the raised arms denoting the peak.


Sit on the ground with your head and spine erect. Extend your legs forward such that your knees and heels are placed together. With the help of your hands, place your right foot on the left thigh and then your left foot on the right thigh. Try to touch the knees to the ground and turn the soles of your feet upwards. See the Lotus Posture (Padmasana) for more details.
Bring your palms together overlapping the fingers of your hands. Starting at the chest level, extend your arms slowly upwards along the central vertical axis of the body till they are over your head. Ensure that your arms touch your ears and are not bent at the elbows. Ascertain that your upper body is fully but comfortably stretched from the hips to the fingers.
Remain in this final posture breathing deeply and uniformly with your eyes closed for about 1-2 minutes (in the early stages) or your breakpoint*. Increase this time gradually.
Repeat the above steps except that you place your left foot on the right thigh and then your right foot on the left thigh. This will ensure that both legs are built uniformly.

Tips and Comments
You may choose to bend your head forward and place your chin on your upper chest, if you feel comfortable. However, your spine must be erect.
The hands should be stable without any tremble, and the palms should touch each other without any pressure.
In the early stages, you may experience pain in the knees and may be able to place only one foot comfortably on the thigh. Therefore, you may wish to try the Half Lotus Posture (Ardha Padmasana) as a preparatory exercise. Regular practice will make the process of placing both feet on the thighs easier. Beginners with rigid knees and/or ankles should proceed with care.
Instead of keeping the eyes closed, you may focus on the nose tip (Nasagra Drishti) or between the eyebrows (Bhrumadhya Drishti).
There is also a variation of this yoga posture in which you interlock the fingers and stretch the arms vertically up over the head with the palms facing upwards.
*Breakpoint is the time upto which you can comfortably remain in a yoga posture. It varies from individual to individual depending on one's fitness, age and will power.


The Mountain Posture (Parvatasana) helps in sublimating the vitality in the performer's body because of the total stretch of the vertebral region. Further, the spine is straightened with height gain observed in children and adolescents.
The posture develops various muscles (biceps, triceps, and brachioradialis) of the arms.
The deep and uniform breathing in this yoga pose helps the performer freely expand the lungs and chest. Thus, it benefits those with respiratory disorders such as asthma.

Yoga Mudra

Position of Readiness
Yoga Mudra  is practiced in the Lotus Pose. If you are unable to practice it in Padmasana, then practice it in Ardha Padmasana or in sukhasana (easy pose). If this is also not possible, then sit in Vajrasana.


After being seated either in the Lotus position or in Sukhasana, bring both the hands at the back. Grab the wrist of one hand with the other hand.
Make a fist with the hand which has been grabbed. At this stage keep the hands loose and let them rest on the back. Keep the spine straight. Look in front while keeping the neck and head straight upward.
 Exhaling slowly, start lowering the head till forehead touches the ground. You have to synchronies exhaling with the bending of upper area of the body towards the ground. Let the head come down only as far as it can easily be lowered. If possible, touch the ground with the forehead. By the time the head has touched the ground exhalation should be completed.
Hold the breath in that position. Now tighten the hands and gradually raise them (in grabbed form) upwards as high as possible without excessive strain. Stay in this position for 6 to 8 seconds. Do not allow your buttock to leave the ground during its practice. If it becomes easy to touch the ground with forehead, then gradually try to touch the ground with nose and chin.
Start inhaling while lowering down the hands and gradually return to earlier pose. Loosen the hands and the body. Rest for six to eight seconds. After resting, make a few more rounds by following the same process.

Daily Practice
Initiate with the two rounds daily in the first week, increase it to four rounds in the second week.

Yoga Mudra has a curative and corrective effect for the asthmatics. The lungs and their bronchial branches are stimulated in a very effective way. Because of reverse conditioning of the upper area of the body, the blood from the lower region begins to flow upwards and massages the veins of the lower bronchioles of the lungs. This helps restore the normal health of the lungs and their functioning.
Yoga Mudra provides several other benefits also. It corrects the disorders of the spine; removes gastric troubles and constipation; strengthens the digestive system; and enhances sexual potentiality.


Viparita Karani

(Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)

Viparita refers to a state of turned around or reversed, and karani means doing or some action.

Said to reverse the normal downward flow of a precious subtle fluid called amrita (immortal) or soma (extract) in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Modern yogis agree that Viparita Karani may have the power to cure whatever ails you. This faith has been there from the statement of Gheranda stating that this yoga can win over age, and even death.


The description of a supported variation of the Shoulderstand-like Viparita Karani is given below. The support can be in form of one or two thickly folded blankets or a firm round bolster. You`ll also need to rest your legs vertically (or nearly so) on a wall or other upright support.

Therefore, before performing the pose, determine two things about your support: its height and its distance from the wall. If you`re stiffer, the support should be lower and placed farther from the wall; if you`re more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall.

Your distance from the wall also depends on your height:

If you`re shorter move closer to the wall.

In case you are taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you.


Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can substitute "left" for "right" in these instructions).

With one smooth movement along an exhalation, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. The first few times you do this, you may ignominiously slide off the support and plop down with your buttocks on the floor. Don`t get discouraged. Try lowering the support and/or moving it slightly further off the wall until you gain some facility with this movement, then move back closer to the wall.

Your sitting bones don`t need to be right against the wall, but they should be "dripping" down into the space between the support and the wall. Check that the front of your torso gently arches from the pubis to the top of the shoulders. If the front of your torso seems flat, then you`ve probably slipped a bit off the support. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again.

Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Don`t push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift toward the chin. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat.

Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.

Keep your legs firm enough to hold them vertically in place.

Release the heads of the thighbones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis.

Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side.

Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation. The Focus points of the body getting maximum impact and benefits are Legs, Abdomen, Chest and Neck.


The posture relieves tired or cramped legs and feet.

Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck .

Relieves mild backache.

Calms the mind.


The asana should be avoided in case of :

Serious eye problem such as glaucoma

In case of serious neck or back problems only perform this pose under the supervision of an experienced teacher.


Lying on your back and arching your chest

The fish is the stretch that counters the Plough, and so follows them in Yoga session. The name of the posture derives from the fact that if you adopt the position in water, you will float quite easily. The Asana does wonders for your respiratory systems; when you assume this position, your chest is stretched open and your bronchial tubes are widened to promote easier breathing. In time your ribcage will expand, and this will also encourage you to breathe more deeply. By lifting your chest and tucking your arms underneath your body, you will combat postural defects such as rounded shoulders and the cervical region of your spine, thus releasing pressure on your nerves. Try to hold the pose for half of the time that you spent in the Shoulderstand, in order to equalize the stretching effects on your spine ans muscles.

Objective: To ease tension and improve spinal flexibility.
Assume the Corpse Pose and, when you are ready, begin to come into the fish. Stay flat on your back, and bring your feet together. With your arms straight by your sides, lay your palms on the floor, then tuck your hands in underneath your buttocks. Starting Pose: Prepare yourself for this asana by relaxing in the Corpse Pose for as long as you need.

Having arched your spine, tilt your head so that your crown rests on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. To come out of the Fish, slide your head back and then lower your chest. To finish, relax by lying in the Corpse. Chest Lift: Press your elbows down on the floor, inhale, and arch your chest upward as far as you can.

Try this variation if you are flexible enough. In the Easy Pose, clasp your toes. Lie back, arch up, and rest your buttocks on your heels. Lay the top of your head on the floor.

Knees Bent - Sit cross-legged, then put your arms down behind your knees and catch hold of your toes.
Fish in Lotus - This pose is an advanced variation on the ordinary Fish. It is similar to the Easy Pose variation shown above, except that it begins with the Lotus. Practitioners of yoga use this variation for staying afloat in water. The Fish in Lotus pose should not be attempted by beginners, or even by more experienced yoga students, until the full Lotus position can be held comfortably for a long period of time.

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