Bridge, Cobra, Corpse, Dog,/Cat, Downward Dog, Forward Bend, Half Shoulderstand, Head to Knee, Mountain, Sit/Easy Position, Triangle, Warrior I, Warrior II
kind to yourself when you practice yoga. Go slowly, especially
in the beginning, and listen to your body. It knows what
it can do. If it says "stop," stop. Don't push it.
Yoga is not a competitive sport. You don't win points
for matching a picture in a book (or on a website). If you
push too hard, you probably won't enjoy it, and you may
hurt yourself. Whenever possible, work with a teacher, and
use books, videos and websites to supplement your classroom
instruction. Most of all, stick with it. If you practice,
you will improve. And you will feel better. Jai Bhagwan.
below describes some of the fundamental yoga postures. The
sequence can be performed in order. When you are familair
with the postures, try some of the vinyasas, or yoga flows,
listed to in the column to the right.
is a flow or sequence of postures
Position - Sukhasana
position that helps focus awareness on breathing and
the body; helps strengthen lower back and open the groin
with hands on knees. Focus on your breath. Keep your
spine straight and push the sit bones down into the
floor. Allow the knees to gently lower. If the knees
rise above your hips, sit on a cushion or block. This
will help support your back and hips. Take 5-10 slow,
deep breaths. On the next inhale, raise your arms over
your head. Exhale and bring your arms down slowly. Repeat
flexibility of spine
This is really
two poses, one flowing into the other. Begin on your hands
and knees. Keep your hands just in front of your shoulders,
your legs about hip width apart. As you inhale, tilt the
tailbone and pelvis up, and let the spine curve downward,
dropping the stomach low, and lift your head up. Stretch
gently. As you exhale, move into cat by reversing the
spinal bend, tilting the pelvis down, drawing the spine
up and pulling the chest and stomach in. Repeat several
times, flowing smoothly from dog into cat, and cat back
posture, balance and self-awareness.
pose in that it appears so simple that some students may
ask - "why bother?" But just as there's more to breathing
than meets the eye, there is more to standing, too.
feet together, hands at your sides, eyes looking forward.
Raise your toes, fan them open, then place them back down
on the floor. Feel your heel, outside of your foot, toes
and ball of your foot all in contact with the floor. Tilt
your pubic bone slightly forward. Raise your chest up
and out, but within reason - this isn't the army and you're
not standing at attention. Raise your head up and lengthen
the neck by lifting the base of your skull toward the
ceiling. Stretch the pinky on each hand downward, then
balance that movement by stretching your index fingers.
Push into the floor with your feet and raise your legs,
first the calves and then the thighs.
Hold the posture, but try not to tense up. Breathe. As
you inhale, imagine the breath coming up through the floor,
rising through your legs and torso and up into your head.
Reverse the process on the exhale and watch your breath
as it passes down from your head, through your chest and
stomach, legs and feet.
5 to 10 breaths, relax and repeat.
next inhale, raise your arms over head (Urdhava Hastasana)
and hold for several breaths. Lower your arms on an exhale.
As a warm
up, try synchronizing the raising and lowering of your
arms with your breath - raise, inhale; lower, exhale.
Repeat 5 times.
Bend or Extension - Uttanasana II
the legs and spine, rests the heart and neck, relaxes
mind and body
straight in Mountain pose or Tadasana. Inhale and raise
the arms overhead. Exhale, bend at the hips, bring the
arms forward and down until you touch the floor. It's
okay to bend your knees, especially if you're feeling
stiff. Either grasp your ankles or just leave your hands
on the floor and breathe several times. Repeat 3-5 times.
On your last bend, hold the position for 5 or 10 breaths.
To come out of the pose, curl upward as if pulling yourself
up one vertebrae at a time, stacking one on top of another,
and leaving the head hanging down until last.
the instructions for the basic pose described above, but
instead of holding the pose for several breaths, come
up on the inhale. Extend your arms forward as your rise
until you are standing straight and your arms are overhead.
Exhale and bend forward. Repeat the process 5 times.
2. Go into
the pose and take 3 deep breaths. Inhale and raise your
head, but keep your hands on the floor. Hook each index
finger around each big toe, exhale and come down. Hold
for several breaths
and raise your head, again keeping your hands on the floor.
This time, slide your hands under your feet so that the
tips of your toes are touching heel of your hands. Hold
for several breaths.
bending forward, fold your arms and hang for as long as
is comfortable. A very relaxing pose.
5. To come
out of the pose, curl upward as if pulling yourself up
one vertebrae at a time, stacking one on top of another,
and leaving the head hanging down until last.
- the Triangle
the spine, opens the torso, improves balance and concentration.
your spread 3-4 feet apart, feet parallel. Turn your left
foot 90 degrees to the left and your right foot about
45 degrees inward. Inhale and raise both arms so they're
parallel with the floor. Exhale, turn your head to the
left and look down your left arm toward your outstretched
fingers. Check that your left knee is aligned with your
left ankle. Take a deep breath and stretch outward to
the left, tilting the left hip down and the right hip
up. When you've stretched as far as you can, pivot your
arms, letting your left hand reach down and come to rest
against the inside of your calf, while your right arms
points straight up. Turn and look up at your right hand.
Breathe deeply for several breaths. Inhale, and straighten
up. Exhale, lower your arms. Put your hands on your hips
and pivot on your heels, bringing your feet to face front.
Repeat the posture on the other side.
Warrior I I
- Virabhadrasana II
legs and arms; improves balance and concentration; builds
Begin in mountain
pose with feet together and hands at side. Step your
feet 4-5 feet apart. Turn your right foot about 45 degrees
to the left. Turn your left foot 90 degrees to the left
so that it is pointing straight out to the side. Slowly
bend the left knee until the thigh is parallel with
the floor, but keep the knee either behind or directly
over your ankle. Raise your arms over head. Then slowly
lower them until your left arm is pointing straight
ahead and your right arm is pointing back. Concentrate
on a spot in front of you and breathe. Take 4 or 5 deep
breaths, lower your arms, bring your legs together.
Reverse the position.
the spine, strengthens the back and arms, opens the chest
on your stomach. Keep your legs together, arms at your
side, close to your body, with your hands by your chest.
Inhaling, slowly raise your head and chest as high as
it will go. Keep your buttocks muscles tight to protect
your lower back. Keep your head up and chest and heart
out. Breathe several times and then come down. Repeat
Follow the steps above. When you've gone as high as you
can, gently raise yourself on your arms, stretching the
spine even more. Only go as far as you are comfortable.
Your pelvis should always remain on the floor. Breathe
several times and come down.
Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
flexibility and awareness; stretches the spine and hamstrings;
rests the heart.
on your hands and knees. Keep your legs about hip width
apart and your arms shoulder width apart. Your middle
fingers should be parallel, pointing straight ahead. Roll
your elbows so that the eye or inner elbow is facing forward.
Inhale and curl your toes under, as if getting ready to
stand on your toes. Exhale and straighten your legs; push
upward with your arms. The goal is to lengthen the spine
while keeping your legs straight and your feet flat on
the ground. However, in the beginning it's okay to bend
the knees a bit and to keep your heels raised. The important
thing is to work on lengthening the spine. Don't let your
shoulders creep up by your ears -- keep them down. Weight
should be evenly distributed between your hands and feet.
Hold the position for a few breaths. Come down on and
exhale. Repeat several times, synchronizing with your
breath: up on the exhale and down on the inhale.
to Knee -- Janu Shirshasana
and opens back and hamstrings, improves flexibility
Sit on the
floor with legs extended in front of you. Bend one leg,
bringing the heel of the foot as close to the groin as
possible. You may want to place a pillow under the bent
knee for comfort. Make sure your sitz bones are firmly
grounded on the floor and that your spine is straight.
Turn your body slightly so you face out over the extended
leg. Inhale and raise your arms over head. Exhale and
begin to move forward slowly. Try to keep the back as
straight as possible. Instead of bending at the hips,
focus on lifting the tailbone and rolling forward on your
sitz bones. Inhale and lengthen and straighten the spine.
Exhale and roll forward, however slightly. To get a bit
more forward movement, engage your quadriceps (thigh muscles)
as you move forward. This releases the hamstrings, giving
you a bit more flexibility. When you've moved as far forward
as you can, lower the arms and grasp your foot, or leg.
Hold the position for a moment and breathe. Then on the
next exhale gently pull yourself forward. Go slowly and
remember to keep the back straight. When done, straighten
up and do the other side.
Shoulderstand -- Ardha Sarvangasana
proper thyroid function, strengthens abdomen, stretches
upper back, improves blood circulation, induces relaxation
remember doing this as a kid. Lie on your back and lift
your legs up into air. Place your hands on your lower
back for support, resting your elbows and lower arms on
the ground. Make sure your weight is on your shoulders
and mid to upper back -- not your neck. Breathe deeply
and hold for at the posture for at least 5-10 breaths,
increasing the hold over time. To come down, slowly lower
your legs, keeping them very straight -- a little workout
for your abdominal muscles.
- Sethu Bandhasa
and suppleness; strengthens the lower back and abdominal
muscles; opens the chest.
Lie on your back
with your knees up and hands at your side Your feet
should be near your buttocks about six inches apart.
To begin, gently raise and lower your tail. Then, slowly,
raise the tailbone and continue lifting the spine, trying
to move one vertebra at a time until your entire back
is arched upward. Push firmly with your feet. Keep your
knees straight and close together. Breathe deeply into
your chest. Clasp your hands under your back and push
against the floor.
Take five slow,
Come down slowly
and refreshes the body and mind, relieves stress and anxiety,
quiets the mind
the most important posture, the Corpse, also known as
the Sponge, is as deceptively simple as Tadasana, the
Mountain pose. Usually performed at the end of a session,
the goal is conscious relaxation. Many people find the
"conscious" part the most difficult because it is very
easy to drift off to sleep while doing Savasana. Begin
by lying on your back, feet slightly apart, arms at your
sides with palms facing up. Close your eyes and take several
slow, deep breaths. Allow your body to sink into the ground.
Try focusing on a specific part of the body and willing
it to relax. For example, start with your feet, imagine
the muscles and skin relaxing, letting go and slowly melting
into the floor. From your feet, move on to your calves,
thighs and so on up to your face and head. Then simply
breathe and relax. Stay in the pose for at least 5-10
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