Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yoga Meditation

Meditation Techniques

There are a number of meditation techniques for effective meditation.

Different cultures have different mediation techniques, but one thing is certain - meditation is universal. The different techniques are suited to different personality types. While some techniques are concentrative, involving focusing, other techniques are expansive such as 'Vipassana' meditation which allows for the free flow of thoughts and their observation.

Presented below are some of the common meditation methods. Only a brief insight is provided and meditation should be learnt under the guidance of a Guru.

Mantra Meditation

A Mantra is a grouping of sound vibrations which have an effect on the mental and psychic consciousness. Although traditionally given by a Guru, in the absence of a Guru, the practitioner may choose his mantra. An important criterion for mantra selection is that it must appeal to the mind fully when spoken verbally.

Mantra chanting creates powerful vibrations which are said to be directed to the right "chakras" to attract divine forces. This process is said to mysteriously heal the spiritual, physical & psychological body. It is important that when the mantra is chanted, the words and their rhythm must be enjoyed and one must surrender oneself to this experience.

Mantras do not have any specific meaning. Their power lies not in the meaning of the word but through the vibratory effects of the sound that they produced when spoken verbally or mentally.

In fact, a Mantra should not be confused with religion. Just because a mantra refers to a Hindu God, it does not mean that it cannot be said by a Christian. Also, a Mantra should not be translated as this has the effect of altering the sound vibrations wherein lies the strength of the Mantra.

Repetition of a Mantra forms the basis of Mantra Meditation. Mantras for spiritual evolution should be practiced for a fixed amount of time each day. Repeating a mantra too much may not be right for sensitive or psychic people as it may affect them adversely. Generally, if you repeat a mantra for about 10 minutes every day, then, within a few days you will know whether the vibrations feel right for you.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) introduced by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi is also a form of Mantra Meditation where the participants are provided their personal Mantra.

Mantra Meditation is the easiest and safest form of meditation and can be practiced by anyone at anytime and under any conditions. The most common way of practicing Mantra Meditation is Japa. Japa (literally means 'rotate') is performed by repeating a mantra in sync with the rotation of a Japa Mala. A Japa Mala is a rosary of 108 beads where each bead is turned after the mental or audible recitation of the mantra.

Using a Japa Mala for Mantra Meditation is very effective as it provides an anchor to bring the mind back as it experiences wavering thoughts. The Mantra combined with the Japa Mala provide tangible anchors to which the thoughts are directed back as they spin out of control. That is why, Japa Meditation is one of the most recommended forms of meditation for the beginner.

Yogic Gaze

Trataka means steady gazing. It is a very simple and beautiful Meditation Technique.

Method:

In this a regular candle is used, however any other object of choice can be used. The candle is set up at an arm's distance, level with eyes, and steady gazing is first done with the eyes open. After some time, the eyes are closed, and the after image of the flame is 'gazed at' with eyes closed at the eye brow center. Try not to move through out the practice. Relax your breath , let it lengthen, deepen.

This open gazing of the flame and then with the eyes closed is alternated a couple of times before concluding the practice.

If using a candle for Trataka, the gaze should be fixed at the wick tip and not on the flame.

Trataka on a candle flame is best practised with a trataka stand.

Caution:

If practicing Trataka on a Candle flame, do not continue the practice for more than a month or two at a stretch as it may lead to damage of the retina.

Benefits:


It improves the optic function, both external and internal, such as poor eyesight and visualization abilities.
It helps develop concentration and mental resolve.
Develops the ability to maintain one-pointedness in amongst the noise and distractions of daily life.
Develops the psychic eye, that is the ability to "see" or understand what is inside and beyond the obvious. It develops the power of Intuition.


Chakra Meditation

Chakra Anusandhana means "discovery or search of the chakras". It is a simple way for beginners to explore the chakras self-tutored. It helps in awakening them gently, and in a balanced integrated way.

How to:

It can be done sitting, or lying.
Close your eyes, adjust your body, clothing.
Let the breath relax, slow and deepen, but do not control it.
After a few minutes of settling in, commence Ujjayi pranayam, and carry on for some time
Now bring awareness to the spinal passage, such that awareness of breath is from bottom to top, Spend a few minutes establishing this inner breath pattern up and down. Ascending with inhalation, descending with exhalation.
Begin to locate chakras within that channel. Need not pin point the exact location, just focus on general area. Try to feel the location of each station and mentally repeat its name as you pass by it. On your way up mentally repeat from Mooldhara to Ajna, and way down reverse the order.
Just before finishing let go of breath sound, then names. And chant mantra' 'Om' 3 times.

Precaution:

Awakening of Chakra can have its side effects. Excessive mental energy can be a problem with those who do not have abundant physical activity.
Never meditate on one Chakra without qualified guidance. It can lead to an imbalance and cause personality problems.


Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana means "insight" -to see things as they really are, through a process of self-observation. It means insight into your own nature which enables one to recognize himself the cause of suffering and eliminate it.

Method:
It is usually done in a course of 10 days, when the participants refrain from reading, writing, and even talking (except discussing difficulties faced during meditation with the teacher). Set aside 15 minutes. Find a quiet place. Sit down cross-legged on the floor or a chair with a straight back. Become aware of your breath. Take a mental note of whatever feeling you are experiencing. Open your eyes slowly after 10 or 15 minutes and get up gradually. Do not worry if you do not get any great insights in your first session. Try to be aware of your senses and emotions and their impact on you.

Benefits:
It is free of rites. Allows one to study sensation in the body like cold, pain, itching etc. One develops wisdom.

Raja Yoga Meditation:

Raja yoga meditation fills the yogi with super-sensuous joy or bliss which is the highest and the most ennobling experience. The bliss elevates the mind and raises the yogi above carnal pleasures, and moulds his bad habits.

A Raja yogi establishes a relationship with God . He withdraws from all the superfluous and avoidable worldly activities. He spends minimum time and resources on his personal comforts and devotes maximum energy for noble cause i.e. spiritual awakening of his felloe-beings.

Zazen: 

It refers to zen meditation as was done by Buddha.


Method:
In this you sit in lotus position with back straight to allow free movement of the diaphragm. The chin is tucked in and the weight of the body equally distributed on both the legs.

Benefits:
It is a way to discipline life, and makes one realize how much valuable time is wasted each day.


Nada Yoga:

Plug the ears with the thumbs as in Yoni mudra and concentrate on the internal body sounds. At first the sounds will be faint and will progressively become louder. By listening to this sound mind becomes internally focused. Very beneficial meditative object.

Beginner Tips

20 Meditation Tips For Beginners

Although a good number of people try meditation at some point in their lives, only a small percentage actually persist with it. This is unfortunate, as the benefits are enormous. One possible reason is that many beginners do not start with an appropriate mindset to make the practice sustainable.

The purpose of this article is to provide 20 practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation as an ongoing practice in their lives.

1: Make it a formal practice. Set aside a time in the day that is your meditation practice time.

2: Only meditate for as long as you are enjoying it. It is especially important in the beginning that meditation is not a chore.

3: Do yoga or stretch first. Firstly physical activity will draw your own awareness into the body and away from your mind. A practice like yoga loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit more comfortably. Additionally, yoga opens the body not only at the physical level but also at subtle level, which facilitates movement of energy in the body.

4: Pick a specific location in your home to meditate. Ideally the place you choose will be somewhere that does not have much activity at other times. Two reasons for doing this are, the subconscious is conditioned by repetition, so by going to the same place at the same time each day to meditate you can get in yourself to expect to meditate when you are there. The second reason is that when you meditate you begin to create a particular vibration in that spot. With time and meditation and place will become increasingly attuned to this energy of meditation, again making it easier for you to meditate when you are there.

5: Make sure your will meditation time is respected. if you live with others make sure that they understand that you are not to be disturbed while you are meditating. Equally for yourself make the same commitment, for example if your phone should ring, be aware of it and continue your meditation.

6: Create some representation of sacred space in your meditations spot. This should obviously be what is meaningful for you, maybe an actual altar with pictures and objects, or maybe just a special rug and your meditation cushion.

7: Use ritual if it helps you. This doesn’t have to be elaborate it could be as simple as lighting a candle, or a lighting incense. The repetition of a ritual before you meditate, is again conditioning preparation for your body and mind.

8: Commit for the long haul. When you begin with the clear idea in your mind that the greatest benefits from meditation will accumulate with time, and see it as an ongoing process, you are less likely to give up in frustration.

9: Meditate with understanding. Get clear in your mind exactly what you think meditation is and what it will be like before you start. Invariably everybody does have ideas and expectations like this, it is very helpful to make them conscious before you start.

10: Be clear of your motivation to begin meditation. When you understand your reasons and objectives in beginning meditation you are more likely to find a practice or technique that will work for you at that time.

11: Begin with a particular practice that you have actively chosen and commit to doing it for a given time period. Many beginners are constantly jumping from one to type or technique of meditation to another. Your meditation practice is a relationship with yourself, it will not deepen if it consists of one night stands. This is not to say that the practice or technique you begin with is the one you stay with for the rest of your life, but a relationship is best left when you know exactly why it is that you are leaving, and not done simply on an impulse.

12: Educate yourself. Confusion and misunderstanding is primarily caused by ignorance. Find a good teacher, or online community where you can get answers. Read some books on meditation and spiritual practice.

13: Notice if frustration starts to creep into your practice. If you notice this happening take some time to explore what is going on for you, what expectation is not being fulfilled. Then examine the expectation itself, what is it based on.

14: Be honest with yourself. As I said meditation is a relationship with yourself, you are the most important person you need to be straightforward with, and meditation is a key place to practice this.

15: Be prepared for some discomfort. It is normal in the beginning to experience some physical discomfort when sitting to meditate. Most people are not accustomed to sitting still, other than maybe slouched on a couch. Your body needs time to develop strength and openness in the right places to allow you to sit comfortably and alert. Sooner or later discomfort will also be experienced at the emotional and mental levels. If you are not consciously prepared for this it is likely to deter you from continuing.

16: Until you are well versed in your meditation practice it can be very beneficial to use a recording to guide you. This will help your mind to let go of concern about what you are doing, and the recording can act as a guide until you no longer need it.

17: Start to look for moments of awareness during the day. Finding space to be consciously present during everyday activities is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation practice. Take advantage, of the time spent waiting in traffic, waiting in line, waiting for anything, to become present to yourself and what you are experiencing within yourself. Look for such opportunities in your day, however brief, simple as they are taken radically change or experience of life.

18: Do it together. Meditating with a partner or group can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. When meditating with others many people say that it improves the quality of their meditation. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin.

19: Don’t stress about it. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. Many people in beginning meditation become anxious about whether they are doing it right or not, or whether something they experience should be happening or not. The article, meditation is practice, goes into more detail regarding this.

20: Invest in a good, comfortable meditation cushion. If you need other things to allow your body to sit comfortably in without strain, get them. If you set yourself up with the things that you need, you are removing a future potential pitfall to your practice.

Meditation is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself, like any lasting and meaningful relationship it takes energy and commitment, it takes understanding and tolerance. If you put these things in to your practice meditation will become your best friend, and powerful resource.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekly Yoga Exercise - Friday

FRIDAY:

STANDING ASANAS:

Hanumanasana


Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings and groin.
Instructions:

1. Come in to a kneeling position with the thighs perpendicular to the floor.

2. Bring the right leg straight out in front of you with the heel on the floor.

3. Begin to slide the right heel forward, keeping the right leg straight, until you have also brought the left leg as straight as possible extending behind you.

4. Keep the hips parallel and facing forward.

5. To come out, bend the right leg and draw it back toward the body.

6. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

Tips
Place your hands beside your hips and lower yourself down gently. It takes a moment for the muscles to release and sometimes after a hard practice there is swelling and an inflammation present. This makes it a little harder to enter and even more time must be given for the muscles to relax. If the body is properly warmed up the muscles will relax quicker.


This posture can be done with props and supports if the leg muscles are not flexible but it is probably better to spend time in effective hamstring stretches until the muscles are flexible enough to comfortably enter this posture. Spending all day getting into one posture sacrifices other postures that are necessary for progression. Work on the most effective ways to gain flexibility and introduce advanced postures like this when the time is right.

Beginners: Place a blanket under the front heel to help you slide forward.

Use a block under each hand to support yourself, if you cannot straighten the back leg completely. You can also place a block under the front leg for support, if it does not come down to the floor.

Be careful! This is an intense hamstring stretch. Only come down as far as is comfortable.

Advanced: If you are able to straighten both legs and come all the way down to the floor, interlace the fingers over your head and take a slight backbend.

Garudasana

Garuda = eagle, the name of Vishnu’s vehicle.

Type of pose: Standing, balancing
Benefits: Strengthens legs, improves balance, stretches the shoulders

Instructions:

1. From Utkatasana shift your weight onto the left leg.

2. Bend the right leg, lifting the foot from the floor and cross your right thigh over your left.

3. Hook the right foot around the left calf.

4. Bring the arms out in front.

5. Cross the left arm over the right and bring the palms to touch.

6. Lift the elbows while keeping the shoulders sliding down the back.

7. Hold 5-10 breaths.

8. Repeat on the other side.

Beginners: If you have trouble with the balance, rest your backside on a wall. If you can't hook the lifted foot around the calf, put a block under the foot instead.

Advanced: Start to come into a forward bend, bringing the elbows in front of the knees. Bring the thumbs to your third eye.

SITTING ASANAS:


JANUSHIRASANA

Steps

1.Sit straight and stretch your legs forward. Bend your right leg so that its sole is against the right thigh .

2. Press the perineum with the heel. While inhaling, raise both the hands over your head. Now exhale and bend forward and try to touch the left knee with the forehead.

3.Hold the left toe with the right hand and let the left hand rest on the back. Your right elbow should touch the ground. While inhaling, return to normal position.

4. Repeat the same procedure on the other side.

Practice

Repeat this asana three times. If your body is not flexible enough, try to touch the respective knee with your hands and gradually you will be able to touch the toes. Do not bend your knees while bending forwards.

Benefits & Precautions:

Those suffering from hernia, colitis and slipped disc should avoid this asana. This asana helps to massage the heart and the abdominal organs. It is very useful in reducing excess fat in the abdomen, hips and thighs. It cures constipation, dyspepsia, seminal weakness, and belching and digestive disturbances. It also helps overcome several menstrual disorders.

AKARNA DHANURASANA

Translation: Bow To The Ear

This pose is meant to mimic the shooting of a bow. Yoga practitioners attempt to identify patterns and perceptions that interfere with progression to an awareness of oneness. In old times these distractions were expressed as various demons and spirits or entities. This posture is performed as an expression of identifying these distractions and removing them.


From a seated position straighten one leg forward. Grab the toe or the foot. Bring the foot to the ear and bend the elbow back.  Stretch the other arm forward and hold the big toe on the straightened leg.

It may be hard to bring the foot up with just one arm especially if the hip is inflexible and many muscles are acting against us. If this occurs use the other arm as well.

Place the hand on the extended leg if your hamstrings are not very flexible and it is hard to grab the foot of big toe.

Tips
There are few postures that stretch the big toes. It is important to have the big toes flexible. The usually turn inward and as a result vital energy currents do not run up the inner anterior leg. This affects almost every standing posture. Get the big toes flexible. There are many opportunities to grab them in other seated forward bends as well.

Benefits
1. It is a good posture to remove the pain of back and lumbar region.

2. It increases the elasticity of thigh joint and shoulder.

3. It is also useful in arthritis and rheumatic condition.

Precautions
1. In this asana the direction of strain is towards the joints of the waist.

2. Persons with weak waist joints should not do this asana as it brings great strain to the joints.


Eka Pada Sirsasana

One foot to head pose

Sit with legs stretched in front. Keep the back, head and neck upright straight.
Bend the right knee, turning it slightly out to the side.

Bring the right arm under the calf muscles and hold the out side of the leg just above the ankle. With the left arm hold the outside of the right ankle.
Raise the right leg slowly using the arm and hands.

Bend the trunk forward and twist slightly to the left.
Place the right leg on top of the right shoulders.
And keep the right foot behind the head (by bending the head forward) at the nape of the neck.

Finally, place the hands in front of the chest.
Try to straighten the spine and hold the head upright. Close the eyes and hold the pose for as long as comfortable.
Slowly release the leg and return to the starting position. Repeat the practice on the other side.

Breathing:
Breathe normally while moving into the pose. Breath slowly and deeply in the final position.

Contra-indication:
Those having sciatica, hip problems or hernia should not do this asana.

Benefits of Eka Pada Sirsasana

This yoga pose increases the blood flow especially in your back and improves your hemoglobin levels. With the increased blood flow toxins are removed that accumulate if the blood flow is slow or interrupted. Eka Pada Sirsana helps people who suffer from anemia and also from nervous trembling.
Eka Pada Sirsasana is an intensive work for your body that activates fire and thus helps your body to digest food quickly.
And of course you can imagine that it increases your flexibility.

Focus Points

As soon as you are able to actually bring your leg behind your head, you should concentrate on your breath and make it slow and steady. Try to relax in the posture while straightening your spine as far as possible.

Tips and Help

Don’t despair if you are not able to get your leg up in the beginning! This is a yoga exercise that needs practice and patience!
If you have mastered it and would like to go further, you can either begin practicing Dwi Pada Sirsasana or place your hands next to your body and lift your body up with the other leg stretched out in front of you.


SUPINE ASANAS:

Anantasana


Ananta = the name of the thousand-headed serpent upon which Vishnu rested at the bottom of the primordial ocean.

Amongst other things, this is a very interesting (i.e.: tricky) balancing pose that is organized in the pelvis. The more stability you can crate in the core, the easier it will be to balance.

Steps

• Lie on the left side of the body.
• Flex the left foot, plant the palms and press up, lifting the hips. Press the outer edge of the left foot down and stretch the outer left leg as you bring the hip down.
• Lengthen the side of the waist out along the floor. Lift and draw the rips out and lie back down on the left side.
• Extend the left arm out, resting the head on the upper arms. Inch the fingertips away from the foot, lengthening the left armpit.
• Bend the elbow and rest the head in the hand. Look down at the floor.
• Rest the right arm on the right side of the body.
• Hold this position. If it easy for you to balance here, proceed on to the next step.
• Bend the right leg, reach past the inside of the left thigh and grab hold of the right big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of the right hand.
• Hold this position. If you are able to keep your balance, proceed on to the next step.
• Exhale and stretch the right leg up towards the ceiling. If you find you are unable to extend the leg fully, hold onto the foot with a belt.
• Hold this position for several breaths.
• Come out of the pose by reversing the sequence until you are resting on the left side with the right hand on the thigh.
• Repeat the pose on the other side, taking care to hold the pose for the same amount of time as on the first side.


CHAKRASANA

'Chakra'  refers to 'Wheel' , and in this yogic practice, body should bend and resemble a wheel.  This exercise can be done either in standing position or in  lying position.

Steps

1.  Perform Tadasana.

2.  Place the legs apart, about one-foot.

3.  Raise the hands above the head.  The hands should be straight.

4.  Inhale slowly and then bend the body backwards.

5.  Slowly bend the body and then place the palm on the ground just behind the ankles.

6.  The hands and legs should be erect and firm.

7.  Hold in this position for a few seconds with normal breathing.  Come back to the normal position and relax.

Benefits & Precautions:

1.  This exercise is very good for those who are suffering form back pain.  In this exercise the entire back position is exercised very well so it is very useful to sportsmen.

2.  This exercise helps to correct the disorders of the kidney.

3.  Cures the disorders of the neck, shoulder and the spine.  It helps to make the spinal column more flexible.

4.  It helps to cure throat problems, tonsils and chronic headache.

5.  Improves vision power and corrects eye disorders.

Modification:

Keep the crown of the head on the floor.

Contraindication:

Recent or chronic injury to the legs, arms, hips, shoulders or back, unmedicated high blood pressure, or detached retinas.

FISH (MATSYASANA)

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.
STEP 1 - ON YOUR BACK
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.

STEP 2 - HEAD BACK
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.

FISH VARIATIONS
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.

Weekly Yoga Exercise - Thursday

THURSDAY:
 
STANDING ASANAS:

1.TADASANA

This is the basic and the starting yogic  exercise.  "Tada"  refers to a mountain.  This refers to stand like a mountain.  This is nothing but to know the correct standing position.

Steps

1. Come to stand with the big toes touching.

2. Lift up all your toes and let them fan out, then drop them down creating a wide solid base. You can separate your heels slightly if your ankles are knocking together uncomfortably.

3. Bring your weight evenly onto all four corners of both feet.

4. Let the feet and the calves root down into the floor.

5. Engage the quadriceps and draw them upward, causing your knee caps to rise.

6. Rotate both thighs inward, creating a widening of the sit bones, and tuck your tailbone in between the sit bones.

7. Tone the belly, drawing it in slightly.

8. Widen the collar bones and make sure the shoulders are parallel to the pelvis.

9. The neck is long, the crown of the head rises toward the ceiling, and the shoulder blades slide down the back.

It may seem like you are just standing there, but bringing the body into alignment is hard work. The alignment for Tadasana carries in to many of the standing and inverted poses.

Therapeutic Advantages

1.  This yogic exercise helps  to give the complete knowledge of perfect standing position.

2.  Helps to give control over muscular movement.

3.  In this yogic practice the entire body weight lies on the heel or on 5the edge of the feet.  It gives enough strength to legs and feet.  It also stimulates the entire nervous system of the body.


Utkatasana

A strong, straight lower back is the foundation of every correct position and is consequently important in any Yoga pose. In this exercise, you strengthen the lower back and the legs and by doing so, you create more space in the chest and belly.

STEP 1: Start with the Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
STEP 2: Inhale and stretch your arms, lengthen the spine, and be careful not to press the lower ribs to the front.
STEP 3: Exhale and bend your knees and move your upper body forward at 45 degrees.

See to it that your lower back is straight. You can do this by letting your hand feel whether there is a "groove" in the middle of the lower back. If this is not the case, then stand up straight again, bend your body forward, and feel if the "groove" is there. Let the weight of the upper body sink into the pelvis, relax the calve muscles so that the weight of the body can be most efficiently directed into the ground.

The chest bone is moved slightly towards the belly. The breathing is relaxed and goes through the belly or towards the chest bone. Build up the exercise quietly and remain focused on a correct position of the back, chest, and pelvis.

For a good position, it is essential that the lower back has a natural, slight degree of being sunken. Otherwise, the space disappears from the chest, the movement no longer falls back towards the pelvis and it becomes impossible to breathe through the belly correctly. This means that before you start building up strength in your lower back, it is important to place the lower back in the right way.

Vrksasana

Type of pose: Balancing, standing

Benefits: Strengthens legs, improves balance.

Instructions:

1. Come to stand in tadasana.

2. Feel your weight equally on all four corners of both feet.

3. Begin to shift the weight over to the right foot, lifting the left foot off the floor.

4. Bend the left knee, bringing the sole of the left foot high onto the inner right thigh.

5. Press the foot into the thigh and the thigh back into the foot.

6. Try not to let the right hip jut out. Keep both hips squared towards the front.

7. Focus on something that doesn't move to help you keep your balance.

8. Repeat the move while standing on the left foot.

Beginners: If you cannot bring the left foot high inside the right thigh, bring it lower on the right leg -- but be careful to avoid placing the left foot directly on the right knee.

Use the wall for balance if necessary.

Advanced: Bring the arms up towards the ceiling with the palms touching. Open the arms out to side.

Try closing the eyes and see if you can stay balanced.


SITTING ASANAS:

VAKRASANA


Posture   

This is the advanced stage of Vakrasana. Here the spine is twisted with the support of the knee alongwith the shoulder, and hence it involves more strain.

Pre position   

Sitting Position.

Procedure   
Bend the left leg in the knee and place it near the thigh of left leg.
Place the right hand beyond the folded knee of the left leg and in front of the left hand. Keep the palms of both the hands in opposite direction. There should be a distance of one foot between the two hands.
Press the standing left knee with the right hand and shoulders, and twist the neck to the left. Turn the sight also in the same direction and continue normal breathing.

Position   
In this Asana the spine is to be kept straight.
The lower end of the spine and both the hips be placed well on the floor and stabilize them.
Then with the support of the neck and shoulders twist the upper vertebrae to the left. Alongwith the neck, the sight should also be turned to the left side and stabilize it in that direction.
In Vakrasana (Type 1) the spine is twisted only with the help of the shoulders. Here the shoulders, the knee and the hand are placed in such a way that there is more pressure on the spine.

Releasing   
Turn the neck and the sight to the front.
Restore the right hand to its place and set right the palm of the left hand.
Straighten the left leg and take the sitting position.

Note: Perform this Asana by taking up the right leg making relevant changes.

Duration   
It should be maintained for two minutes on each side to have the expected benefits. With practice, it can be maintained up to six minutes.

Internal Effects   
The elasticity of the spine increases as it gets twisted in its erect position. Alongwith the spine the belly and other internal organs also get twisted and receive the desired strain. It also has very good effect on the spinal cord and its functioning is improved.

Precaution   
One should avoid the temptation of attaining the ideal position if strain is unbearable.


Ardha Matsyendrasana

Ardha-Matsyendrasana, the half spinal twist, is ninth in the sequence of 12 basic postures of hatha yoga. There are many benefits to this posture, but the most important is that the entire length of the spine receives a lateral twist in both directions - first to the left and then to the right.

Physical Benefits
Increases flexibility in each vertebrae of the spine, from the base of the spine through the neck
Stretches the back muscles and hips
Massages the abdominal organs, helping to relieve constipation
Breathing becomes more rapid, speeding up circulation and creating an aerobic effect
Brings more blood flow to the spine
Energetic (Pranic) Benefits
Helps rouse the Kundalini Shakti

Mental Benefits
Brings peace of mind
Helps to cure nervous disorders

Steps

The half spinal twist begins from the child's pose resting position following the bow pose.

From the child's pose, slowly roll your body up, bringing your head up last. At this point you will be sitting on your heels.
Drop your hips to the right of your feet so your sit bones are on the floor.
Bring the left leg over the right so that the foot is on the right side of the right leg with the foot as close in to the body as is comfortable. The closer in to the body the left foot is, the more difficult this posture is. For people with very inflexible hips, the half spinal twist can be done with the right leg completely straight. Be sure to always use the same leg position on both sides of the body.
Make sure that both sit bones are on the mat. If necessary move the right ankle away from the hips until you can feel both sit bones squarely on the surface of the mat.
Bring your left hand behind you and rest it on the floor.
Inhale and lift your right arm straight up over your head, stretching the spine upwards.
Exhale and turn the body to the left bringing the right arm outside the left knee. Look over the left shoulder.
Keep your spine straight and be sure to keep the weight of the body mainly on the spine and not on the left arm. More advanced students can actually lift the left arm from the floor, wrapping it around the back.
In the beginning it is not necessary to be able to hold onto your left ankle with your right hand. It is okay to leave your right arm straight from the knee, always working to move it closer in to the left ankle. You can also use your right hand to pull against your knee or calf of the opposite leg.
Make sure the shoulders stay parallel to the floor.
Try to make this an active posture, twisting the body a little bit more to the left on every exhale.
Be sure not to hold extra tension in the hips, shoulders and face, relaxing into the posture as much as possble to get a good twist. You should feel an equal stretch in every vertebrae of the spine.
Hold this posture for 30 seconds to begin with, working up to 2 minutes or more.

To come out of the posture inhale and lift the right arm over your head, stretch up, and exhale and release the hand back down to the mat.

The half spinal twist continues by twisting the opposite direction.

To begin, return to the sitting posture on top of the heels.

Drop your hips to the left of your feet so your hips are on the floor.
Bring the right leg over the left so that the foot is on the left side of the left leg with the foot as close in to the body as is comfortable.
Make sure that both sit bones are on the mat.
Bring your right hand behind you and rest it on the floor.
Inhale and lift your left arm straight up over your head, stretching the spine upwards.
Exhale and turn the body to the right bringing the left arm outside the right knee. Look over the right shoulder.
Keep your spine straight and be sure to keep the weight of the body mainly on the spine and not on the right arm.
Relax into the posture as much as possible, holding this side of the body for the same length of time as the other side.
To come out of the posture inhale and lift the left arm over your head, stretch up, and exhale and release the hand back down to the mat.


Gomukhasana
(Cow face)

The root "go" in Sanskrit is a distant relative of the English word "cow". Mukha means face. The parted thighs in the asana resemble a cow`s lips and one arm up and one down look like the cow`s ears and so on.

Steps:

To begin with gomukhasana, sit in Dandasana.

Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor.

Slide your left foot under the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking the right knee on top of the left, and bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip.

Try to bring the heels equidistant from the hips: with the right leg on top you`ll have to tug the right heel in closer to the left hip. Sit evenly on the sitting bones.
Inhale and stretch your right arm straight out to the right, parallel to the floor.

Rotate your arm inwardly; the thumb will turn first toward the floor, then point toward the wall behind you, with the palm facing the ceiling. This movement will roll your right shoulder slightly up and forward, and round your upper back. With a full exhalation, sweep the arm behind your torso and tuck the forearm in the hollow of your lower back, parallel to your waist, with the right elbow against the right side of your torso.
Roll the shoulder back and down, then work the forearm up your back until it is parallel to your spine. The back of your hand will be between your shoulder blades. See that your right elbow doesn`t slip away from the right side of your torso.

Inhale and stretch your left arm straightforward, pointing toward the opposite wall, parallel to the floor.

Turn the palm up and, with another inhalation, stretch the arm straight up toward the ceiling, palm turned back.

Lift actively through your left arm, then with an exhalation, bend the elbow and reach down for the right hand. If possible, hook the right and left fingers.

Lift the left elbow toward the ceiling and, from the back armpit, descend the right elbow toward the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back ribs and lift your chest.
Try to keep the left arm right beside the left side of your head.

Stay in this pose about 1 minute. Release the arms, uncross the legs, and repeat with the arms and legs reversed for the same length of time.

Remember that whichever leg is on top, the same-side arm is lower.

The anatomical focus of the body is the recipient of maximum advantage, they are thighs, hips shoulder chest.
You can vary the asana from the full pose by leaning forward and laying the front torso down on the inner top thigh. Stay for 20 seconds, then inhale and come up.

Aid: Amateurs often have a difficult time getting both sitting bones to rest evenly on the floor. This can make it difficult for the knees to stack on top of each other evenly. When the pelvis is tilted, the spine can`t properly extend. Use a folded blanket or bolster to lift the sitting bones off the floor and support them evenly.

Benefits

The asana stretches and tones the ankles, hips and thighs, shoulders, armpits and triceps and chest.

Precautions in case of:

Serious neck or shoulder problems


SUPINE ASANAS:

setu bandhasana


(SET-too BAHN-dah)
setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

Step by Step

Lie supine on the floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.

Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.

Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels, but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pubis toward the navel.

Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin. Firm the outer arms, broaden the shoulder blades, and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck (where it's resting on the blanket) up into the torso.

Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.


FISH (MATSYASANA)

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.
STEP 1 - ON YOUR BACK
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.

STEP 2 - HEAD BACK
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.

FISH VARIATIONS
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.



Weekly Yoga Exercise - Wednesday

WEDNESDAY:

STANDING ASANAS:

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.

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

Duration:
Up to 5times on each side.

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

Benefits:
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.


Natarajasana
(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.

Steps:

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.

Benefits:

Stretches the shoulders and chest

Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen

Strengthens the legs and ankles

Improves balance

Precautions:

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.

Steps:

• 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.

Variation

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.

SITTING ASANAS:

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).

Steps

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.

Benefits

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.

Parvatasana

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.

Steps

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.

Benefits

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.

Steps

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.

Benefits
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.


SUPINE ASANAS:

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.

Steps:

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.

Procedure:

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.

Benefits

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.


Precautions:

The asana should be avoided in case of :

Menstruation
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.



FISH (MATSYASANA)

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.
STEP 1 - ON YOUR BACK
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.

STEP 2 - HEAD BACK
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.

FISH VARIATIONS
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.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Weekly Yoga Exercise - Tuesday


TUESDAY:

STANDING ASANAS:

Trikonasana:

(oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna)
utthita = extended
trikona = three angle or triangle


Step by Step

 Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
 Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
 Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.
 Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.
 Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Parivrtta Trikonasana - Revolved Triangle

Parivrtta Trikonasana (or Revolved Triangle) is one of the more challenging poses, for beginners and more experienced students alike. This is perhaps because the pose works on many levels - as well as a strong standing pose, it is also a twist and a balance. But the rewards are worth it, and include strengthening and stretching the legs and back, improving balance and opening the chest.
This pose can also be helpful for those suffering with back problems and asthma.

To practice...

•Begin standing in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Step the legs a leg-length apart, and turn the right foot out about 90 degrees. Ensure the toes of the left foot are turned towards the right foot.
•Square the hips to the front and root the feet firmly into the mat, without scrunching the toes. If possible, the front and back feet are in line. If this comprises your balance, take the right foot to the side a few inches, keeping the hips square.
•Inhale and take the arms wide to the side, in a T shape. Relax the shoulders.
•Exhale, and move the chest and naval towards the right leg, twisting through the upper body. Place the fingers on the floor outside the right foot, or, to lighten, place the hand on the calf or on a block.
•On an inhale, lift the right hand towards the sky. Beginners should keep the right hand placed on the lower back.
•If your neck is ok, turn your head and look at the right hand. If this causes strain in the neck, keep looking forwards, keeping the spine and neck in one long line.
•Keep breathing, even through your breath is naturally constricted in this twist. Keep the sacrum flat and keep rooting the back foot towards the Earth.
•Breath for between five and 10 breaths, focusing on the exhale. Come out of Parivrtta Trikonasana on an inhale, untwisting the same way you came into the pose. Repeat on the other side.

To lighten this pose, you can bend the front knee, keep the upward hand on the lower back, and/or keep the gaze forward rather than up. Remember to use a block on which to rest the downward hand, or place the hand lightly on the leg.


Parsvakonasana:

Translation: Extended Side Angle Pose

From Tadasana step the legs apart. Turn one leg out and bend the knee over the ankle. From Uttanasana step one leg back and externally rotate it until the heel touches the mat. From the Downward Dog Pose step one leg forward between the hands. Externally rotate the back leg until the heel touches the mat.
Turn the foot of the back leg 90 degrees or slightly inward. Place one hand on the mat beside the bent knee and the other hand diagonally out. Stretch the side of the body. In easier versions of this pose the elbow can be placed on the bent leg or on a block.

There are many theories of how this pose should be modified. The back foot does not come to the mat easily if the angle across the body is one clean line from the back legs to the extended arm and fingers, but it does look and feel good.

Common Faults

Both feet have a tendency to Evert (Pronate). This means that all the weight falls onto the inside of the feet. This happens especially in the back leg. Try to get the pinky toes to the mat. To do this you must engage the Tibialis posterior and Tibialis anterior.

Benefits

The extended side angle stretches the side of the body. However it is a pose that involves all the muscles in the body.
The Groin and shoulders are stretched. The muscles around the hip of the leading leg are stretched and toned. The gluteal muscles are toned and the muscles around the lateral lower abdomen are stretched. Toward the lower back the quadratus lumborum a big muscle that runs along the top of the pelvis and attaches to the bones in the spine is significantly stretched.
The shoulders muscles such as the rotator cuff and closer to the spine the rhomboideus major and minor get a good stretch. Muscles in the shoulders and neck are toned such as the upper trapezius muscles and the levator scapulae. Arm muscles are also toned. The latissimus dorsi is stretched. This is a big muscle that attaches to many bones in the spine (from the sacrum to the lower shoulders) and gathers beside the ribs to attach to the humerus.


SITTING ASANAS:


Mandukasana - Frog Pose

How to perform Mandukasana 

Sit in Vajrasana and make fists with both hands, the thumbs inside. Place your fists on your belly next to the belly button.
Bend forward with exhalation. Hold your breath in the yoga posture for a few seconds and come up with inhalation.


Benefits of Mandukasana

This yoga pose is beneficial for people suffering from diabetes as well as for the pancreas and the heart.
The frog pose helps reduce fat from thighs, belly and hips.


Focus Points

Regulate your breathing with going in and out of the posture. This will strengthen the effect of reducing extra belly weight.
Performing the frog pose together with the right breathing and with an empty stomach stimulates the acupressure points of pancreas and heart.


When to Avoid Mandukasana

People suffering from abdominal injuries and any kind back pain should not perform the frog yoga pose.

Pose recommended for doing after Mandukasana

In the frog pose you bend forward and contract all your inner muscles. In the next step it is recommended to perform Uttan Mandukasana, the Uplifting or Stretched Frog Pose to stretch all these muscles.

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

Type of pose: Backbend
Benefits: Stretches the front of the body including the chest, abdomen, and quadriceps. Improves spinal flexibility.

Steps:

1. Come up onto your knees. Take padding under your knees if they are sensitive.
2. Draw your hands up the side of your body as you start to open your chest.
3. Reach your hands back one at a time to grasp your heels.
4. Bring your hips forward so that they are over your knees.
5. Let your head come back, opening your throat.
Beginners: Curl your toes under and come to the balls of your feet if you cannot reach your heels when the feet are flat, or use blocks on either side of your feet.
Advanced: Try taking hold of opposite ankles.

Veerasana (warrior pose)

Posture
Veera means brave. The way a brave man takes position while attacking his enemy, the similar position is formed in this asana, hence it is called as Veerasana.

Pre Position
Standing Position.


Procedure
1. Take the left foot forward and place the left foot on the floor at th e maximum distance from the initial position. 
2. Bring both the hands together, join the palms and place them on the knees of the left leg. Bend the left leg in the knee in such a way that the thigh and the calf come in 90 degrees. Keep the right leg straight.
3. Raise the joined hands up and take them back above the head and then without bending the hands in the elbows, bend the head backward and keep the sight backward down.


Position
The front leg should be bent in 90 degrees angle and the back leg should be straight. Keep the toes frontward. The back leg, the back, the neck and both the hands form a very good arch in this position and this forming of arch is desirable, too. The body should be weighed backward and keeping the arms near the ears, the neck should also be bent downwards.

Releasing
1. Start bringing the body forward and place the hands on the knee. Keep sight to the front.
2. Straighten the knee and restore the hands to their original place.
3. Restore the left leg to its place and take up standing position.


Duration
It should be maintained for at least one minute, to have the desired strain and benefits; with practice, duration can be increased to three minutes.

Internal Effects
In this asana the joints of the legs, the waist, the spinal column and the neck get curved in opposite direction. As a result of this, the blood circulation to these joints is regulated. The spinal column becomes elastic and its functioning improves. There is pressure on the digestive organs and the belly gets stretched, which promotes their functioning..

Precaution
The process of the backward bending should be slow and controlled, else it becomes difficult to maintain the balance. The loss of balance may prove injurious to certain parts of the body. Slow and controlled movements help in having halt at the needed point and avoiding the unwanted strain.
Note: This asana is to be repeated for the right leg also.

SUPINE ASANAS:

PAVANAMUKTASANA (Both The Legs)

Posture
The knees and thighs are pressed against the chest and belly in this asana. The gas trapped in the large intestine gets released in this Asana. Therefore, it is called 'Pavanamuktasana'.

Pre position Supine Position.
Use Generally practiced to get rid of abdominal & gastric problems and improve digestion etc.

Procedure
Exhale and inhailing, start raising both the legs and come to Dwipada Uttanpadasana Position.
Bend both the legs in the knees and keep the folds on the belly. Keep the knees and toes together.
Now keep the belly pressed with the thighs and clasp the folded legs with both the hands.
Now bending the neck, raise the head and fix the chin between the knees.

Position

It is necessary to keep the knees and thighs pressed against the chest and belly in this asana. At the same time the calves should also be pressed against the thighs so that when the hands clasp the legs, the desired pressure can be had on the belly. The proper pressure on the concerned organs of the body gives the desired benefits.

Releasing
Straighten the neck and bring the head on the floor.
Unfold the hands and bring them to their earlier position.
Inhailing, straighten both the legs and come to Dwipad Uttanpadasana Position.
Exhailing, slowly bring both the legs down and place them on the floor and take Supine Position.

Duration

Generally it should be maintained for one minute. That way this asana can be retained longer but that is not necessary.

Internal Effects
Due to the nice and systematic pressure on the belly, the trapped gases in large intestine are released. This improves the digestion system and helps have good motion.

Precaution
People who have undergone an operation on belly or suffering from hernia and piles, etc. should perform this asana after consulting some Yoga Expert. Similarly, the pregenant women should also not practice it.

Do’s & Don’ts Do’s
- Keep the legs folded in knees and pressed on the abdomen using the folded arms.
- Try to touch the chin to the knees.
- Try to keep the legs together.
- Point the toes.
Simple variation – keep the head on the ground instead of trying to touch the chin to the knees.


Don’ts
- Do not strain your neck.

Weekly Yoga Exercise - Monday

WEEKLY YOGA EXERCISES:
 

Hi Folks

Hope you are all doing good. I just want to share with you people some stuffs which i follow weekly from monday to friday in yoga. If you are interested you can also follow them. I am going to split here as three sections. Standing asanas, sitting asanas and supine asanas which needs to be followed up daily. So Very fisrt day in the week monday what needs to be done.

MONDAY:

STANDING ASANAS:

ARDHA KATI CHAKRASANA:

This asana is also called Ardha Chakrasana in some schools. The bend from the waist sideways resembles, half wheel and hence the name.

Steps:

Step1: Stand straight with your arms by your side. Keep your back and neck straight. Look ahead.
Step 2: Inhale and slowly raise you left hand straight up above your head. Keep your left arm close to your ear.
Step 3: Exhale and bend to your right. Slide your right hand down, alongside your right leg. Let your left arm touch your left ear as you bend your head to the right. Hold the
pose for 10-30 seconds. Breathe normally in the pose.
Benefits:
•Clear blockages in the lungs and improves breathing.
•Improves flexibility of the hips.
•Reduces fat and tones the waist.

Precautions:
•Those with abdominal and hip injury must avoid this pose
•Do not bend forward or backward in this pose.


PADAHASTHASANA:

Padahastasana, or the standing forward bend (literally feet to hands pose), is the eleventh posture in the sequence of 12 basic postures of hatha yoga. It is an inverted posture
which provides many of the same benefits of the seated forward bend: the main physical benefit is to stretch the entire backside of the body from the head to the heels.

Steps:

To begin, come to a standing position at the front end of your mat with your legs close together.
•Inhale and lift your arms straight up over your head with your arms touching your ears.
 

•Exhale and bend forward from the hips as shown in the photograph, keeping your back straight as long as possible. Keep your legs straight with the weight of the body over the
balls of the feet. Feel that the hips are lifting up and the body is falling away from the hips.
•If possible, put your hands flat on the floor, or wrap your fingers around the big toes. If you can't reach the floor you can also wrap your hands around the back of your legs.

•Try to bring the head in as close to the knees as possible with the neck relaxed.
•In the beginning, hold the posture for 5 seconds, gradually working up to 1 minute or more.
To come out of the posture inhale and slowly roll the body up bringing the head up last.

The standing forward bend is part of the basic yoga class.

Physical Benefits:

•Stretches the hamstrings on the back of the legs
•Stretches and lengthens the entire spine
•Massages the internal organs, especially the digestive organs
•Relieves digestive problems such as constipation
•Relieves problems with sciatica
•Invigorates the nervous system
•Increases the supply of blood to the brain
•Removes flesh from the abdomen
Energetic (Pranic) Benefits
•Removes tamas, or inertia


ARDHA CHAKRASANA:

Ardha Chakrasana, Ardha Kati Chakrasana, Half Wheel Pose

Steps:

Stand straight in Samastithi. Keep your feet hip-width apart from each other. With inhalation you place your hands on your lower back just above your buttocks and bend backwards
as much as your body allows you. Stay in this position and keep breathing. Come up with exhalation.
You can repeat the posture 3 to 5 times.


Benefits:

Ardha Chakrasana is a beneficial yoga posture for your heart and can help you to regulate high blood pressure.
As it gives your belly, abdominal organs and intestines a good stretch, it helps your digestion and makes your inner organs work properly again.
The bend of the spine and the impulse that your nervous system gets is good for spondylitis.
The bending backwards will bring flexibility to your spine and hips and when you have back pain you should do the posture to get some relief.
Additionally the bending backwards gives you room to breathe and thus helps your respiratory system and can even relief asthma problems.
If you want to lose some weight, do Ardha Chakrasana as it tones and strengthens the thighs, hips and waist which will reduce excess fat in this area.
Ardha Chakrasana also helps women with menstruation problems or disorders and uterus problems or any other gynecological problems such as leucorrhea as the backward bending

stimulates the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Pregnant women should also perform this exercise in most cases to prevent stiffness of the back and back pain. It can make the delivery easier. But please consult your doctor

before you practice this posture during pregnancy.

Focus Points

For beginners it is very necessary to support the back with the hands as you can harm your back very easily when you bend too much backwards without supports in your back.

Tips and Help

Bring your hips forward and bring your body weight on your toes while bending backwards.


SITTING ASANAS:

BHADRASANA:

Steps:

Sit with your legs spread out.
Bring both feet together and join the soles of your feet.
Bring both heels as close as possible to the body.
Try to touch the knees on the floor.
Keep the head, neck and spine in one straight line, keep abdomen comfortably drawn in.
Observe your breathing.
Initially, give slow ‘butterfly movements’ by slightly lifting the knees and pushing them down. This helps increase flexibility in the hip joint.

Benefits:
Bhadrasana is a conditioning asana and helps one prepare for further action. It increases concentration and quietens the mind. Also increases flexibility of the lower limbs.
Limitations:
Severe arthritis, acute slipped disc and any injuries or surgeries on the legs. Beginners may find it difficult to practice Bhadrasana and might not be able to maintain the
posture for long. This is mainly due to inflexibility of hip joint and thigh muscles. With regular practice, this can be overcome.

NAVKASANA:

Steps

1.Lie down straight on the abdomen with forehead resting on the floor.
2.Keep your feet together and arms extended forward with palms on the floor. While inhaling, raise your arms, head, neck, shoulders, trunk and legs simultaneously as high as
possible.
3.Keep your elbows and knees straight. Balance the entire weight of your body on the navel. Maintain this posture as long as possible.
4.While exhaling, bring down your legs, hands and forehead to the ground. Then relax in Makarasana.
Benefits & Precautions:
Naukasana improves the functioning of the lungs, is useful in treating disturbed navel and relieves body stiffness and back pain. It also reduces excess fat from the abdomen. It
improves digestion and relieves constipation. Hernia and Ulcer patients should not do this asana.

SUPINE ASANAS:

UTTAN PADASANA:

Steps:

Lie down in Shavasana, legs together, hands by the side of your body, palms facing the floor.
Now start raising your legs and hold them at 30 degrees. Continue normal deep breathing. 
With right leg up, the left foot starts travelling down slowly, till the left heel touches the floor.
Start raising your left foot till it joins your right foot at 30 degrees. Now left leg remains up and right foot starts travelling down till the right heel touches the floor.

Relax.
Now start raising your right foot till it joins your left foot, knees straight toes out stretched and slowly bring both feet down till both heels touch the floor and relax.


Note : There should be no jerk at this point. 

Benefits :

Uttanpadasana reduces the stomach, strengthens the thighs, waist, hips, back and spinal cord. It prevents and cures HERNIA as well.

ARDHA HALASANA:

Ardha Halasana means the ‘Half Plough Posture’. Proper practice of the Ardha Halsana will help you gain mastery over the Halasana posture which will be dealt in the following
chapter.
The best thing about Ardha Halasana is that you practice this asana even on your bed before you get up in the morning.
Ardha Halasana is an ideal remedial exercise for people suffering from constipation. Besides toning up the body, removing laziness, it will also regulate proper bowel movements

NOMENCLATURE

In Sanskrit the terms ‘Ardha’ means half, ‘Hala’ the traditional Indian plough and ‘Asana’ points to the specific yogic posture. Therefore, when a yogic practitioner assumes the
final Ardha Halasana posture the figure will resembles a half plough.

Steps

Lie down on your practice mat.
Stretch out your legs.
See that your toes and heels are together respectively.
Your toes must be pointing outwards.
Relax the entire body.
Similarly stretch out your hands on both your sides.
The palms must be turned downwards.
Remain in this position for about 60m seconds as you breathe normally.
Press down the palms as you inhale.
Even as you inhale slowly raise the right leg to the maximum height.
The left leg must be kept flat on the ground.
Keep on holding your right leg straight at the height you feel at ease till you inhale completely.
Hold on to your breath for about five seconds or till you are comfortable.
Exhale and simultaneously lower down the right leg till it reaches the floor. By that time you should be completing the exhalation process.
Wait for some time when you should be holding out your breath.
Gradually inhale deeply and simultaneously do the same act with the left leg.
As you bring down the left leg after completing the act and exhalation, you would be completing one cycle.
Do three cycles alternating both the legs.


The Second Stage of Ardha Halasana

After you complete the three cycles, relax with normal breathing for about 10 seconds. Now commences the second stage of Ardha Halasana as you inhale.
While you breathe in press down your palms.
Raise both your legs without raising your hands or bending your knees.
The legs should be raised to an angle of 30 degrees from the floor.
Now attempt to lift the legs up to an angle of 90 degrees from the floor. Thus, your legs will be at a right angle with the ground.
The back side of your head should be touching the ground.
Your elbows and arm should be close to the trunk.
Don’t use your shoulders to lift the legs.
Your back must be as close to the floor as possible.
Moreover, you shouldn’t be raising above the floor your head, and the trunk.
The body above the hip joints should be touching the ground during the entire course of the posture.
Fix the gaze on the toes.
Don’t keep the toes pointed or stiff. Pointed toes creates tension and cramps on the toes and legs
Complete the inhalation process and then hold on to your breath.
Stay put in this posture till your body is at ease.
This is the Ardha Halasana posture.
Then lower the legs without bending your knees even as you exhale.
During this legs lowering movement, you should be pressing down your palms on the ground.
It is important that you pause when your legs are at an alignment of 60 degrees and 30 degrees vis-à-vis the ground.
While raising and lowering the legs make the leg-muscles tense.
Perform the legs lowering movement in a smooth gradual pace. Many have a tendency to abruptly drop the legs as they reach the ground. This is wrong!
You shouldn’t be changing the positions of your neck, hands, palms, shoulders and neck.
Repeat the exercise thrice at the initial stage in quick succession.


NOTE: However, at a subsequent stage when you gain complete control over the Ardha Halasana posture, you can either do it once or simply skip the Ardha Halasana posture and
straightway move from Dhanurasana posture to the full Halasana posture. Actually, Ardha Halasana is the first step to correctly do the full Halasana posture.

ADVANTAGES

Uterine problems are cured.
Rectum ailments also get healed if you regularly practise Ardha Halasana.
Ardha Halasana prevents hernia.
Constipation and flatulence syndromes are cured.
Menstrual disorders are corrected.
Varicose veins are cured.
Ardha Halasana prevents prolapse of abdominal organ.
Abdominal muscle elasticity is built up.


MATSYASANA:

Definition: 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.

Step 1 - On your back
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.
Step 2 - Head Back
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.
Fish Variations
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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