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Vakasana

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Vakasana – Crane Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Vakasana – Crane Pose

“Vaka” connotes ‘crane’ in Sanskrit. The final posture of the body resembles a crane.

 

 
Sequence:

Stand erect in Tadasana.
Squat down with your soles flat on the floor.
Spread your knees apart wider than your hips.
Lean your body forward between your thighs.
Place your palms on the floor.
Support your elbows on the shins.
Place your knees in the armpits and the thighs against the sides of the trunk.
Lift your feet up gradually and keep leaning forward.
Shift your weight to the upper arms.
Lift your feet completely off the floor.
Also raise your waist and buttocks to the maximum limit.
Look in front or gaze down.
Stay in this position for about 10-20 seconds.
To return, exhale and bring your feet down to the floor.

 

 
Caution:

People suffering from spondylitis should not perform this pose.
Pregnant women should not practice Vakasana.

 
Benefits:

Arms and wrists attain power.
The biceps get stronger and toned.

Virabhadrasana

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Virabhadrasana – Warrior Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Virabhadrasana – Warrior Pose

“Virabhadrasana” is a warrior incarnation of Shiva.

 

 
Sequence:

Stand erect in Tadasana with legs together and hands joined in front of the chest.
Spread apart your legs.
Turn your right foot in to make an angle of 45 degrees and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees.
Make sure the left and right heels are in alignment.
Stretch out your arms and make them parallel to the floor at shoulder level.
Exhale and bend your left leg at the knee. The shin should be straight and thigh should be parallel to the floor so as to make a right angle.
To maintain balance press your right heel firmly into the floor.
Keep the trunk erect.
Rotate your arms so that the left hand is pointing in front and the right hand is extended backwards.
Stay in this position and look ahead.
Maintain this posture for about 30 seconds, breathing normally.
Inhale and come up.
Return to standing position in the reverse order.
Repeat by changing the limbs and side.

 

 
Caution:

Hypertension and high blood pressure patients should not perform this pose.
If you have a history of hips, knees, back or shoulders, do not practice Virabhadrasana.

 

Benefits:

Pregnant women can get relief from backaches.
Virabhadrasana can boost your energy.
The stretching involved tones the body and makes it flexible.
Regular practice can build your concentration power.
Blood circulation as well as respiration capacity improves.
Legs and ankles get strengthened.
The yoga pose is beneficial to people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Infertility and insomnia can be treated with Virabhadrasana.

Ardha Padmasana

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Ardha Padmasana – The Half-Lotus Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Ardha Padmasana – The Half-Lotus Pose

“Ardha” means ‘half’ and “Padma” means ‘lotus’ in Sanskrit. Ardha Padmasana is half of the Lotus Pose. Those who cannot practice Padmasana can start with Ardha Padmasana and then move on to doing the full Lotus pose.

 

 
Sequence:

Sit erect on the mat with your legs stretched out in front of you with heels apart.
Fold your right leg at the knee.
Holding the right ankle with your right hand and the big toe with your left hand pull the right legs towards your body and place it at the root of the left thigh.
Keep your sole turned upwards and your right knee touching the ground. Press your right knee gently if needed.
Now hold the left ankle with your left hand and the left big toe with your right hand. Pull the left leg gently towards the right calf.
Raise your right thigh and put the left leg under it so that the left foot is under the right thigh.
Ensure that the left foot and left knee both touch the ground.
Place the right and the left palm on the right and left knee respectively.
Relax your whole body. You may close your eyes too.
Now gradually stretch out both legs in front of you returning to the initial position, with left leg first followed by the right leg.
Repeat the same by changing the position of the legs.

 

 
Benefits:

Those who find Padmasana or the Lotus Pose difficult can start with this pose. It increases the flexibility of hips, knees and ankles.
This pose is very good for meditation.

Baddha Padmasana

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Baddha Padmasana – Locked Lotus Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Baddha Padmasana – Locked Lotus Pose

“Baddha” means ‘locked’ or ‘bound’ and Padmasana is the Lotus Pose. In this pose the arms and legs are locked to provide steadiness.

 

 
Sequence:

Sit in the Padmasana posture.
Bring both feet higher on the thighs close to the groin.
Stretch your right hand behind the back until it reaches the left hip.
Lean forward and twisting your trunk catch the big toe of the right foot placed on the left thigh.
Sit erect and maintain this posture for a few seconds.
Stretch your left hand behind the back and hold the big toe of the left leg, in a similar manner as above.
Again sit erect and hold the position.
Keep the spine, neck and head erect in a straight line.
Both your arms and legs will be locked at this stage.
Both the knees should be touching the ground.
Now pull in your stomach and try to bring the shoulder blades close together.
Look straight ahead and breathe normally.
Hold this posture for 10 seconds or as long as you are comfortable.
Slowly release the grasp of your hands on the toes.
Unlock the two legs and stretch them out in front.
Sit in a normal position and relax.
Alternate the legs and practice the posture again.

 

 
Caution:

Pregnant woman should not practice this pose.
Baddha Padmasana should be practiced only if you have mastered Padmasana.

 
Benefits:

The pose alleviates shoulder and back pain..
The posture increases flexibility of the legs.
The pose helps correct bad posture by removing abnormal spinal curvature.
Practicing the asana several times a day brings relief to people with varicose veins.
Practicing Baddha Padmasana increases flexibility of joints of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, lower back, hips, knees, ankles and toes.

Padmasana

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Padmasana – The Lotus Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Padmasana – The Lotus Pose

“Padma” means ‘lotus’ in Sanskrit. In this pose the feet and hands are akin to the petals of a blooming lotus, hence the name.

 

 
Sequence:

Sit down on the floor with your legs stretched out in front.
Grasp the ankle of your right leg with the right hand and the big toe with the fingers of the left hand.
Pull the right leg closer to the root of the left thigh, folding the right leg at the knee.
Without straining the muscles of the knee place the right foot atop the left thigh.
Similarly hold the left leg and place it on top of the right thigh.
Press your knees with your palms to ensure they touch the ground.
The soles of both feet should face upwards.
Bring your head, neck and spine in one straight line.
Place palms on the heels of both feet. The palms should be curved in the form of cups and rest one on top of the other.
Maintain this posture until you feel the strain in your legs.
You may close your eyes if you want.
Open your eyes and unlock the feet.
Return to the starting posture.

 

  Caution:

Sciatica patients should avoid this pose.
Padmasana should never be performed immediately after meals.
Sitting posture should be erect.

 

 
Benefits:

Padmasana helps to get rid of flab around abdomen, thighs and buttocks.
The thigh and calf muscles become stronger.
Arthritis of knee, ankle and hip joints is relieved with practice of Padmasana.
The pose helps attain a straight posture.
Padmasana ensures the required blood supply to the abdomino-genital and pelvic areas.
All muscles, tendons and ligaments are flexed and extended during Padmasana. They are then relaxed when you relax.
Padmasana tones up the abdomen and spine.
The erect spine attained in this posture prevents compression of the abdominal viscera.

Ardha Shalabhasana

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Ardha Shalabhasana – The Half-Locust Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Ardha Shalabhasana – The Half-Locust Pose

The word “Shalabh” means ‘locust’ and “Ardha” means ‘half’. This pose is an easier version of Shalabasana performed with one leg at a time. The final posture resembles a feeding locust, head lowered and tail up.

 

 
Sequence:

Lie down on your stomach with legs close together and hands on the sides.
Make sure your abdomen, chest and chin are touching the ground.
Clench your fists and keep them facing upwards.
Inhale and hold your breath.
Taking support of the fist, raise your left leg backwards straight up, without bending the knee.
The body from navel upwards should be on the ground.
Hold the leg in the raised position for five seconds.
Keep your right leg straight and steady.
Exhale slowly and bring your left leg down. Complete exhalation.
Repeat the same steps with your right leg.
Do three cycles of the above, alternating your legs.

 

 
Caution:

The clenching of fist should neither be too tight nor too loose.
Hernia and cardiac patients should not perform Ardha Shalabhasana.
The asana should not be practiced by expectant mothers.

 
Benefits:

It helps improve circulation of blood.
It firms thighs, hips and buttocks by dissolving excess fat.
Regular practice of Ardha Shalabhasana can help control diabetes.
People suffering from constipation should practice this pose for relief.
Women with ovaries and uterus disorders can benefit from this pose.

Uttanasana

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Uttanasana – Intense Stretch Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Uttanasana – Intense Stretch Pose

“Ut” connotes ‘intense’, and “Tana” means ‘stretch’ in Sanskrit. In this pose the legs and spine are stretched, hence the name

 

 
Sequence:

Stand erect in Tadasana.
Place your hands on your hips.
Inhale and raise both your hands straight above the head, palms facing each other.
Bend your body at the hips and bring your trunk down as you exhale.
Keep bending further down.
Bring your hands down towards the floor and place the palms on the floor.
Stretch your back and the spinal column to the maximum.
The buttocks should point upwards.
Keep the knees straight.
The head should be hanging down.
Inhale and raise the trunk slightly.
Exhale and bring it down.
Remain in this pose for about a minute.
To return, place your hands on the hips and then bring the trunk up with a long inhalation.

Note: Beginners can bend their knee in order to touch the floor. If you cannot reach the floor, try to touch your ankles with your hands.

 

 
Caution:

If you have a back injury, avoid this pose.

 

 
Benefits:

Knees, thighs and calves are strengthened.
The spinal column gets extended, hence becomes flexible.
Uttanasana calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
Hamstrings, hips and lower back get good exercise.

Januhastasana

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Januhastasana – Knee-to-Hand Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Januhastasana – Knee-to-Hand Pose

The word “Janu” means ‘knee’ and “Hasta” means ‘hand’. In this pose the hand is placed just beside the knee, hence the name.

 

 

Sequence:

Sit down on the floor with your legs bent at the knees and folded backwards, soles upturned and toes touching the ground.
Similar to Vajrasana, place the palms on the ground in front of the knees.
Push your neck backwards, chest outwards and the waist downwards..
Relax your entire body.
Breathe normally.

 

 

Caution:

People with stiff joints should avoid this posture.
Practice this pose only when joints have free movement.

 
Benefits:

This posture improves blood circulation to the waist and lower portion of the body.

Janusirsana

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Janusirsana – Head to Knee Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Janusirsana – Head to Knee Pose

“Janu” means ‘knee’ and “Sirsa” means ‘head’. In this posture head and knees are brought close together.

 

 

Sequence:

Sit straight up and assume Sukhasana.
Stretch both your legs in front of you, fairly apart.
Bend the right leg at the knee and fold the leg inside towards the left thigh.
The outer side of leg and foot should be touching the ground.
Press the sole of the foot with the right hand to push it closer to the perineum.
Make sure your sitting posture is straight with the trunk and head erect..
Inhale.
While inhaling raise both the hands above the head palms facing outwards.
Exhale completely.
The knees should be kept straight.
Inhale deeply and then start exhaling.
As you exhale pull in your stomach and bend the upper part of your body forward and downwards towards the knee of the left leg.
Keep your head in between your arms.
As you are bending the trunk, extend your arms and try to reach for the toes of the left leg.
Grasp the ball of the feet of the extended left leg.
Take a deep breath.
Exhale and while exhaling bend your trunk further down and push the knee down. Point the elbows outwards.
Bending the head further downwards press the forehead on the left knee.
Slide the elbows on both sides of the left leg so that the elbows now touch the ground.
Make sure the inside of the left leg is stretched out and the underside of the knee should also be touching the ground..
Hold your breath in this posture for as long as you comfortably can. Feel the strain in the underside of the extended leg.
Now start inhalation. As you inhale bring the body to the starting position.
Repeat the above steps with the legs in alternative position.

 

 

Benefits:

Sciatica and the solar plexus get great benefit from this pose.

Plank Pose

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Plank Pose

Yoga Exercises > Yoga Asanas or Poses > Plank Pose

 

 
Sequence:

Start with assuming the Adhomukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog).
Inhale and bring your chest forward closer to the floor.
Straighten your arms so that they are perpendicular to the ground.
Your shoulder and wrist should be in one straight line.
Make the upper part of the body parallel to the floor.
Lift your heels off the ground.
Press your palms and toes firmly on the floor.
Spread your shoulders and collar bones.
Press your upper thighs up towards the ceiling.
Straighten your neck and face downwards.
Gaze down at the floor.
Do not strain your throat.
Hold this pose for about 30 seconds.

 

 
Caution:

People with neck injury should avoid this pose.

 

 
Benefits:

The plank pose is good for toning the abdomen.
Arms, legs and spine are stretched.
Wrists become stronger with regular practice of this yoga posture.