TADASANA (Palm Tree Posture)
Tadasana is named after the Tada (Palm tree) as in final posture the body remains erect in standing position like a palm tree.
- Stand straight on the ground with feet together.
- While inhaling, raise the arms with palms open.
- Raise your heels. Standing on toes, stretch upward whole body from toes to fingers.
- Maintain this posture with normal breathing or hold the breath for a while.
- While exhaling slowly bring arms down along with the body.
- Relax for a while in standing position.
- This Asana stretches the muscles and the nerves, thereby improves functioning of various systems of the body.
- It gives strength to toes.
- It is helpful in increasing the height of young growing children.
- It is helpful for the patients of sciatica.
- Women during pregnancy should do this Asana under supervision.
HASTOTTANASANA (Up- Stretched Arms Posture)
‘Hasta’ means arms and ‘Uttana’ means stretched up. In this Asana, arms are stretched upward. Therefore, the Asana is named hastottanasana.
- Stand on the ground with feet together.
- Inhale and raise arms over the head. Interlock the fingers.
- While exhaling, bend to left side from the waist.
- Hold the position for a while and inhaling come back to the center.
- Repeat the practice on the right side.
- It exercises back, neck and spinal joints.
- It makes the waist slim, the chest broad; removes fatty deposits on hips and the buttocks and also increases height of growing children.
- It relieves constipation.
KATICAKRASANA (Lumbar-Twist Posture)
‘Kati’ means waist and ‘Cakra’ means wheel. In this asana, one has to twist the waist to right and left side. While doing so, the waist moves like a wheel, therefore it is named as Katicakrasana.
- Stand firmly on the ground with feet twelve inches apart.
- Now, keep the arms out-stretched in front of the chest with palms facing each other.
- Swing the arms slowly towards right side of your body.
- Twist your body from the waist and try to take your arms back as far as possible.
- While swinging towards right side, right arm should be kept straight and left arm should be bent.
- Repeat the practice on left side as well.
- The waist becomes slim and supple; and chest expands.
- It relieves constipation and makes the lumbar region strong.
- The ribs become resilient, thereby many respiratory ailments, even tuberculosis of lungs can be prevented.
- It strengthens shoulders, neck, arms, abdomen, back and thighs.
ARDHACAKRASANA (Half Wheel Posture)
In Sanskrit language, ‘Ardha’ means half and ‘Cakra’ means wheel. In this posture, the body takes the shape of half wheel, therefore it is called Ardha-Cakrasana.
- Stand erect on the ground with feet together.
- Keep your hands by the side.
- Bend the elbows and support lower back with the palms.
- Now, slowly exhale and bend backward as much as possible.
- Try to maintain the posture with normal breathing and without losing the balance.
- Inhale and slowly come up to the original position.
- This Asana gives relaxation to the neck and back muscles, especially of lower back.
- It improves flexibility of the spine.
- It helps to remove fat from the sides of the body.
- It also removes stiffness from hip joints.
TRIKONASANA (Triangle Posture)
‘Trikona’ means triangle. In this asana, the body assumes the shape of a triangle, hence it is named Trikonasana.
- Stand erect with legs together, hands by the side of thighs.
- Then move your legs 2-3 feet apart and spread arms at the shoulder level.
- Inhale slowly, lift your right arm over the head, so that it touches the ear.
- Now exhale slowly; gradually, bend your body towards your left side. Do not bend your knees and do not detach your hand from the ear. In the final position, your right arm should be parallel to the ground and left hand with left leg but do not rest on the leg.
- Maintain the final posture with normal breathing.
- While inhaling, slowly come back to normal position.
- Repeat the same practice on the other side.
- The practice of this Asana relieves backache and strengthens the buttocks.
- The body becomes light. Ailment of the lungs and frequent boils and pimples on the skin are cured.
- A special feature of the asana is that it helps in increasing height of growing children.
- This Asana proves useful for the patients of sciatica, if practised slowly.
- Practice of this Asana should be avoided during severe backache.
VRKSASANA (Tree Posture)
`Vrksa’ means tree. The final position of this Asana is a stand still position which resembles the shape of a tree, hence the name.
- Stand straight; put the feet together, and keep the arms straight on the sides.
- Lift the right foot and grasp the ankle by your right hand.
- Fold the right leg and try to maintain the balance.
- Place the right heel at the top i.e. the root (joint region) of the left thigh with the help of both hands.
- Press the thigh with the sole of the right foot, toes pointing downwards.
- Keep the folded leg at right angle to the other leg. Now, join the palms and fingers in supplication manner, raise them and keep them at chest; slowly, raise them above the head.
- Keep the body in balance for some time.
- Now, bring your hands down and come back to the original position.
- Repeat it from the other leg also with the same procedure.
- It strengthens as well as increases flexibility of joints, knees and ankles.
- It tones up the leg muscles and rejuvenates the ligaments also.
- It helps to cure rheumatic pain and the problem of numbness.
GARUDASANA (Eagle Posture)
In this Asana, the hands are to be intertwined and placed in front of the chest like a beak of an eagle; therefore this asana is called Garudasana.
- Stand erect; cross the right leg over the left leg.
- Intertwine the arms with each other like the strands in a rope.
- Place the intertwined hands in front of the chest like the beak of an eagle. Maintain the balance by bending the knee.
- Practise it alternatively with other side by crossing left leg over the right leg.
- This Asana is immensely helpful in case of enlargement of the testicles.
- It provides strength to the feet and the thighs.
- It has been found useful for the patients of anorectal and urinary maladies.
- It improves functioning of the joints, and alleviates pain at knees, feet or in the joints.
- Practice of this Asana should be avoided in case of severe arthritis, varicose veins and injuries of bones and joints.
PADMASANA (Lotus Posture)
In Sanskrit language Padma’ means lotus. This Asana is a traditional posture. In this Asana, physical movements are reduced to the minimum.
- Sit on the ground.
- Fold the right leg and place the right foot above left thigh closer to the hip. Right heel should press lower left part of the abdomen.
- Fold left leg and place it above right thigh. Left heel should press lower right part of the abdomen.
- Place hands on the knees in Jfianamudr5.
- Keep the spine straight. Breathe normally.
- Padmasana induces mental calmness and tranquility.
- It tones up the nerves of coccyx and sacral region by supplying them with extra blood.
- It improves digestive process and helps to relieve constipation.
- It improves concentration and memory.
- It is helpful for people suffering from shortness of breath.
- It is helpful to treat problems of feet concerning excessive sweat, bad odour and cold/hot sensation.
- People suffering from chronic knee pain should not practice it.
VAJRASANA (Thunderbolt Posture)
This can be considered as a meditative posture. While practicing it for meditative purposes, one should close his/her eyes at the final stage.
- Sit with legs extended together, hands by the side of the body, palm resting on the ground, fingers pointing forward.
- Fold the right leg at the knee and place the foot under the right buttock.
- Similarly folding the left leg, place left foot under the left buttock.
- Place both the heels so that the big toes overlap each other.
- Position the buttocks in the space between the heels.
- Keep hands on respective knees.
- Keep the spine erect, gaze in front or close the eyes.
- While returning to the original position, bend a little towards right side, take out your left leg and extend it.
- Similarly extend your right leg and return to the original position.
- This asana strengthens thigh muscles and calf muscles.
- This asana is good for digestion.
- It provides firm base to the spine and keeps the spine erect.
- Persons suffering from piles should not practice this Asana.
SWASTIKASANA (Auspicious Posture)
`Swastika’ means auspicious. It is one of the meditative postures.
- Sit on the floor with the legs stretched forward.
- Place the left foot against the inner right thigh and the right foot against the inner left thigh.
- Keep the spine straight.
- Stretch the arms and place the hands on knees in Jnanamudra.
- The knees should touch the ground; and the whole body, the waist and the back should remain erect.
- The practice of this Asana is useful against hyper-hydrosis (Excessive Sweating).
- This asana is beneficial for the persons who have extremely cold feet in winter or who perspire excessively in summer.
BHADRASANA (Gracious Posture)
In Sanskrit language, Bhadra’ means noble or good. This Asana destroys many diseases.
- Sit on the ground stretching both the legs together in front. Place your hands by the side, with palms resting on the ground. Fingers should remain together pointing forward.
- Fold the legs slowly at knees; join both soles with each other.
- Hold the toes by the hands.
- Slowly bring the legs towards perineum till they reach under the perineum.
- The knees should touch the ground. Head, neck and back should be straight.
- This asana is good for lumbar region and keeps it healthy.
- It is beneficial in women’s problems and facilitates easy child birth.
SIMHASANA (Lion Posture)
This posture is known as Simhasana because the face with protruded tongue resembles the fierce look of a roaring lion. In Sanskrit `Simha’ means ‘lion’, hence the name.
- Place both the heels under the scrotum contra-direction (i.e., left heel on the right side and right heel on the left side of it) and turn upwards.
- Place the front part of the head of tibia on the ground and hands on the ground. Keep your mouth open. Adopt Jalandhar bandha and fix the gaze on the tip of the nose.
- This is the Simhasana.
- This Asana stretches all muscles in general and muscles of the neck and face in particular.
- It gives good exercise to the eyes and throat.
- It gives good exercise to the abdominal muscles. It improves blood circulation.
- It is useful in speech related disorders.
- It regulates functioning of thyroid.
- Persons suffering from arthritis of knee or hip, severe backache and balance disorders should not practice this asana.
GOMUKHASANA (Cow’s Face Posture)
In Sanskrit language ‘Gomukha’ means `cow’s face’. In this Asana, the position of the legs takes the shape of Gomukha. Therefore, it is known as Gomukhasana.
- Head erect, stretching both legs together in front. Place your hands by the side, palm resting on the ground with fingers together.
- Fold left leg at the knee and place it on the ground by the side of right buttock.
- Similarly fold right at the knee; bring it over left leg and place right heel by left buttock.
- Raise left arm, bend it at the elbow and take it below the shoulders towards the back.
- Raise right arm, bend it at elbow and take it upward and behind the back.
- Interlock the fingers of both the hands behind back.
- Now, try to extend the head backwards against elbow as much as possible.
- Gaze in front.
- Stay in this position for as long as comfortable and then return to the original position.
- Repeat the same by changing the position of the legs and hands.
- The practice of this Asana strengthens muscles of the back and biceps.
- It removes pain in hips and lower extremities.
- It helps in making the spine straight.
- This asana is very useful in arthritis and dry piles.
- It is useful in frozen shoulders, neck pain and cervical spondylitis.
- It gives good exercise to the lungs and helps in respiratory diseases.
- Those suffering from bleeding piles should not practice it.
VAKRASANA (Twisting Posture)
‘Vakra’ means twisted. In this asana, spine is twisted, hence the name. This asana gives rejuvenating effects on the functioning of spine.
- Sit on the ground with legs stretched out.
- Bend right leg at the knee and place the foot beside the left knee.
- Keep the spine straight and twist the waist towards the right as you exhale.
- Bring left arm towards the right side foot in such a way that outer side of left arm touches outer side of right leg; and place left hand beside right foot.
- Take right arm back and keep the palm on the ground in such a way that the trunk is kept erect with a proper twist.
- Repeat on opposite side.
- This Asana makes spinal bone flexible and tones up spinal nerves. It is helpful in case of constipation and dyspepsia.
- It stimulates pancreas and is useful for diabetes.
- It improves capacity of lungs.
ARDHAMATSYENDRASANA (Half Matsyendra Posture)
Ardhamatsyendrasana is named after the great Yogi Matsyendranatha. Full version of this Asana is very difficult for a beginner to master. Therefore, it has been modified. This modified version is called Ardhamatsyendrasana.
- Sit on the ground. Bend left leg with heel touching the side of the hip.
- Place right foot near left knee on the ground.
- Place left arm over right knee and grasp the toes of right foot with left hand.
- Take right arm behind back around the waist in an attempt to touch the navel from behind.
- Turn your head towards right side and try to look behind.
- Repeat it on opposite side.
- This asana is beneficial for adrenal glands, kidneys, liver and spleen.
- It helps to relieve constipation, asthma, indigestion and obesity.
- It strengthens muscles of the spine and back and makes them flexible.
- It corrects stooping shoulders, a bent back and the defective posture.
- It stretches and strengthens shoulders, hips and neck.
- It is good for diabetic patients.
- Those suffering from stiffness in spine should practise it carefully. Pregnant ladies are advised not to perform this asana.
PASCHIMOTTANASANA (Posterior-Stretch Posture)
‘Pascima’ means posterior and ‘Uttana’ means stretch out. In this Asana, the back side of the body including the spinal column gets stretched, hence it is called Pascimottanasana. Stretching both the legs straight on the ground and holding the big toes with hands, one should stay in this position with one’s forehead placed on one’s knees. This is called Pascimottanasana.
- Sit on the ground, stretching both the legs in front. Place hands by the sides with palms resting on the ground. Fingers should remain together pointing forward.
- Loosen your back muscles and bend the body forward as far as possible.
- Maintain this pose for as long as comfortable.
- To come back loosen your hands and place them where they are comfortable. It would be easier if they are put on the thighs.
- Practice this Asana daily and keep trying forward bending little more till you are able to hold big toes of the legs with forefingers of respective hands. The navel should be touching the thighs.
- Bring chest and head close to the legs as much as possible; and place the elbows by the side of the legs on the ground.
- Maintain the posture as per the capacity. Come back by raising chest and head from the legs.
- It strengthens abdominal muscles.
- It is helpful in removing constipation, obesity, dyspepsia, seminal weakness and skin diseases.
- It reduces the possibilities of sciatica.
- Those practicing it for more than three minutes should practise Uddiyanabandha in the middle of the Asana.
Those suffering from ulcer in abdomen should not practice it.
USTRASANA (Camel Posture)
`Ustra’ means camel. The body in this posture resembles the posture of a camel, hence the name.
- Kneel down on the floor. Keep your thighs and feet together, toes pointing back and resting on the floor.
- Bring the knees and the feet about one foot apart and stand on the knees.
- While inhaling bend backward. Be careful not to jerk the neck while bending backward.
- With exhalation place the right palm on right heel and left palm on left heel.
- In final position, thighs will be vertical to the floor and head titled backwards.
- Weight of the body should be evenly supported by the arms and the legs.
- This Asana should be practiced after Sarvangasana as a counter pose to enhance the benefits of Sarvangasana.
- Ustrasana is extremely useful for defective eyesight.
- This is useful in back pain and neck pain.
- It helps to reduce fat over the abdomen.
- It is helpful in digestive problems.
- Those suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, hernia should not practice it.
SASANKASANA (Hare Posture)
8aSanka means “hare’. The body in this posture takes the shape of a hare, hence the name.
- Sit in Vajrasana. Keep the spine erect.
- Spread both the knees wide apart while toes remaining together.
- Raise both arms above the head. Keep the arms apart at shoulder width.
- Exhaling, bend forward at the waist with the arms straight.
- Chin and arms should be resting on the floor.
- Look in front and maintain the position for as long as comfortable.
- Slowly come back in the initial position.
- This Asana improves the functioning of liver, kidneys and other visceral organs.
- It tones up reproductive organs.
- It strengthens abdominal and pelvic region.
- This asana relieves sciatica nerve.
- This is beneficial in cases of sexual disorders.
- People suffering from backache should avoid practice of this Asana.
MANDUKASANA (Frog Posture)
‘Manduka’ means frog. The body adopts the shape of a frog in its final posture, hence the name.
- Sit in Vajrasana.
- Make the fists with the thumbs inside. Put the fists close to the navel and press them.
- Slowly exhaling, bend forward from the waist; bring the chest down so as it rests on the thighs.
- Keep the head and the neck raised; eyes looking in front.
- Maintain the position for as long as comfortable.
- Slowly come back to the Vajrasana and relax.
- This asana is beneficial for abdominal ailments and protuberant bellies.
- It helps to overcome indigestion and constipation.
- It eliminates poisonous gases of the abdomen and cures flatulence.
- People suffering from backache should avoid practicing this asana.
MAKARASANA (Crocodile Posture)
In Sanskrit ‘Makara’ means crocodile. In this Asana, the body resembles a crocodile.
- Take prone lying position, with chin, chest and abdomen touching the ground.
- Spread the legs little apart and place them comfortably on the ground in such a position that the heels face each other and toes point outward.
- Take the hands one by one beneath the head; grasp the hands with each other lightly forming a triangle. Now place the forehead on the hands and dip the face into the space.
- Slowly close eyes and relax. Do normal breathing and remain in this position as long as comfortable.
- It is good for asthma, dyspepsia and vata diseases.
- It is helpful in keeping the spine flexible.
- Removes mental and physical fatigue.