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Yoga Practices - Positions, Postures, Asana

(The Best practice to perfect health)


Asana is a Body posture, it is a Sanskrit word used to describe a position of the body. Patanjali, the founder
of Ashtanga Yoga defines asana as "Steady and comfortable posture". Traditionally many asanas are
practiced in Hatha Yoga tradition, primirarily to achieve better physical and mental health. Asanas have deep
impact on the entire body and mind complex, it affects different systems in the body like muscular,
respiratory, circulation, digestive, excretory, reproductive, endocrine, nervous system.
Standing Position - Yoga Postures or Asana in
standing position
Stand erect with the feet quite close together, heels and
the big toes touching each other. Hands touching thighs,
this position helps achieve stability of pulse.
List of Postures or Asana In Standing Position
Veerasana (Warrior pose)
Trikonasana (Triangle pose)
Vrikshasana (Tree pose)
VEERASANA
1 2
3 4
Posture Vira 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 Virasana.
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.
RIKONASANA
1 2 3
4 5
Posture In this asana the position of the body becomes like a triangle (trikon). And hence, it is
called Trikonasana.
Pre position Standing Position.
Procedure
1. Lift the left leg and place it at a maximum distance towards the left.
2. Turn the toe of the left foot towards the left and inhale.
3. Exhale and bend the left leg in the knee and place the left hand palm near the left
foot toe.
4. Take the right hand forward straight above the right ear and continue smooth
breathing.
Position It is necessary to keep the right hand, mid body and right leg in one straight line in this
asana. The neck and the waist should be kept straight. The arms of the right hand should
be kept touching the right ear. At this stage, the left leg is kept bent at 90 degree angle,
the left arm is kept straight & its palms placed on the floor. In this position the weight of
the whole body comes on the left hand.
Releasing
1. Exhale and inhailing, bring the right hand to its original place.
2. Straighten the left knee and bring the left hand to its original place.
3. Turn the left leg toe to front.
4. Bring the left leg near the right one and take up the standing position.
Duration It should be kept for one minute on each side.
Internal Effects In this asana the weight of the body comes chiefly on the calves of the bent legs and on
the muscles of the hand resting on the floor and has nice effect on them. The stretching
of the body has good effect on the muscles of those parts and improves their functioning.
This asana is useful for the joints of the waist.
Precaution Persons having complaints regarding their waist and the spinal column should do this
Asana under the guidance of Yoga Expert.
Note: This asana is to be done by taking out the right leg.
VRIKSHASANA
1 2
3 4
Posture A tree is always in a standing position, remains stable and grows upward. The similar
process is involved in this asana and hence it is called Vrikshasana.
Pre position Standing Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhailing take both the arms up above the head from the sides and join
the palms at the top.
2. Lift the heels and stand on the toes and pull the whole body upward. Continue
smooth breathing.
Position Except the toes, the whole body right from the heels to the fingers of the hands, is
stretched upward. Pull the hands upward as much as possible. The more the body is kept
stretched, the more it is possible to keep the balance. Keeping the legs stable, one should
pull the body upward, thinking that he is being pulled up by some force. Taking the asana
position continue smooth breathing, and keep the sight and the mind fixed, as looking
here and there will disturb the balance of the body.
Releasing
1. Inhale, and exhailing bring both the hands down from the sides.
2. Bring the heels on the floor and take up standing position.
Duration As this asana involves balancing, it is enough to maintain it for one minute. To have
certain special results, one should increase this duration to three minutes.
Internal Effects In this asana all the muscles are stretched in one direction at one time and then relaxed.
This process helps to remove all the strains. The muscles get rest and relaxation and even
the earlier strains caused by other asanas get removed.
Precaution The asana being simple there is nothing to bother. However, while stretching the body
upward, one should take care to maintain the balance.
Sitting Position - Yoga Postures or Asana in Sitting position
This is the sitting position with both legs together and stretched, toes erect, spine erect and both hands
straight and palms resting on the floor.
List Of Poses or Asana In Sitting Position
Dhyan Mudra (Meditation gesture)
Swastikasana (Auspicious pose)
Samasana (Balance pose)
Padmasana (Lotus pose)
Padmasana (Baddha) (Tied lotus)
Padmasana (Utthit) (Lifted lotus)
Parvatasana (Mountain pose)
Akarna Dhanurasana (Type 1) (Bow pose in sitting)
Akarna Dhanurasana (Type 2) (Bow pose in sitting)
Padmasana Yogamudra (Type 1)
Padmasana Yogamudra (Type 2)
Vakrasana (Type 1) (Twisted pose)
Vakrasana (Type 2) (Twisted pose)
Ardhamatsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)
Sharanagata Mudra (Forward Bending)
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose)
Vajrasana Yogamudra (Type 1)
Vajrasana Yogamudra (Type 2)
Paschimottanasana (Half) (Half Forward Bend)
Paschimottanasana (Full) (Forward Bend)
Januhastasana
Hastashirasana
Ekpadsahajhasta Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Dwipadsahajhasta Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Dattamudra
DHYANA MUDRA
Posture Sitting
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure Palms are kept open and tips of the thumb and index fingers of both the hands are joined together
forming a circle in between them. Remaining 3 fingers are kept together and relaxed. This position of
the hands is called Dhyana Mudra.
Position In sitting position wrists of the hands in this Dhyana Mudra posture are kept on the respective knees
and palsm facing upwards.
SWASTIKASANA
1 2 3
4 5
Posture In this asana one leg is placed on another in a peculiar way and then the position is
stabilized. Since ancient times this Swastika is considered as auspicious symbol and this
asana tries to attain the shape of swastika with legs placed on each other.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Spread both the legs and keep them at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet.
2. Bend left leg in knee and place its soul touching inner side of the right thigh.
3. Bend right leg in knee and place its foot in between the thigh and the calf of the
leg.
4. Keep the wrists of both the hands on the respective knees and take Dnyana
Mudra.&nbspContinue normal breathing.
Position In this asana the position of the body is stabilized. Keep the backbone erect and sight
straight. This asana is particularly useful for meditation and concentration.
Releasing
1. Bring the hands beside the waist.
2. Straighten the right leg in the knee.
3. Straighten the left leg in the knee.
4. Get both the legs together, take the sitting posture.
Duration Within 10 to 12 days' practice of this asana, one can maintain this asana for 10
minutes. After more practice this period can be increased to 2 to 3 hours. Sitting for
long in this asana alone can make one experience the pleasure of this asana.
Internal Effects As the backbone is kept erect in this asana, its functioning is greatly improved. Dnyana
Mudra further helps in stabilizing pulse beats. Consequently strain on muscles is
reduced, which in turn reduces strain on heart.
Also breathing slows down, collective effect of all this is one can achieve concentration
of mind.
Precaution This asana is very simple and anyone can practice.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Keep the legs straight in knees with toes pointing to the sky.
- Raise the lower back & buttocks off the ground.
- Hands, upper arms & elbows on the ground while supporting the waist with the hands.
- Shoulders resting on the ground.
- Head straight and eye sight fixed on the raised toes.
- Note that the legs can be taken towards head for maintaining the balance.
Advanced variation legs can be straightened at 90 degrees to the floor.
Donts
- Do not bend the legs in knees.
- Do not take the legs over your head in the position, but you can take the legs over
your head while taking & releasing the position.
- Do not move the neck while in the position.
- Do not keep the legs and back in one straight line as in Sarvangasana (Shoulder
stand).
AMASANA
1 2 3
4 5
Posture In this asana the external organs of the body are kept in such a way that they stand
divided in to two, hence the name Samasan (in Sanskrit 'sama' means equilibrium).
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Spread both the legs and keep them at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet.
2. Bend left leg in knee and place it touching the thigh of the right leg in such a
way that its heel rests on the procreating organ.
3. Bend right leg in knee and place its foot in between the thigh and its heel is
placed of the left leg.
4. Keep the wrists of both the hands on the respective knees and take Dnyana
Mudra.&nbspContinue normal breathing.
Position In this asana the position of the body is stabilized. Keep the backbone erect and sight
straight. This asana is particularly useful for meditation and concentration.
Releasing
1. Bring the hands beside the waist.
2. Straighten the right leg in the knee.
3. Straighten the left leg in the knee.
4. Get both the legs together, take the sitting posture.
Duration Within 10 to 12 days' practice of this asana, one can maintain this asana for 10
minutes. After more practice this period can be increased to 2 to 3 hours. Sitting for
long in this asana alone can make one experience the pleasure of this asana.
Internal Effects As the backbone is kept erect in this asana, its functioning is greatly improved. Dnyana
Mudra further helps in stabilizing pulse beats. Consequently strain on muscles is
reduced, which in turn reduces strain on heart.
Also breathing slows down, collective effect of all this is one can achieve concentration
of mind.
Precaution People suffering from hydrocele or enlargement of testicles should not practice this
asana.
PADMASANA
1 2 3
4 5
Posture Padma means lotus in Sanskrit, in this asana position of the legs look like blooming
lotus. This asana has been given a great importance in the Yogashastra as it is best
suited for Pranayam, Meditation & concentration.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Spread both the legs and keep them at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet.
2. Bend left leg in knee and place its toe on the right thigh and heel on the groin of
the left leg.
3. Bend right leg in knee and place its toe on the left thigh and heel on the groin of
the right leg.
4. Keep the wrists of both the hands on the respective knees and take Dnyana
Mudra.&nbspContinue normal breathing.
Position In this asana the position of the body is stabilized. Keep the backbone erect and sight
straight. If the hands are long then slightly bend those in elbows. There should not be
any strain on any of the muscles.
Releasing
1. Bring the hands beside the waist.
2. Straighten the right leg in the knee.
3. Straighten the left leg in the knee.
4. Get both the legs together, take the sitting posture.
Duration Within 10 to 12 days' practice of this asana, one can maintain this asana for 10
minutes. After more practice this period can be increased to 2 to 3 hours. Sitting for
long in this asana alone can make one experience the pleasure of this asana.
Internal Effects As the backbone is kept erect in this asana, its functioning is greatly improved. Dnyana
Mudra further helps in stabilizing pulse beats. Consequently strain on muscles is
reduced, which in turn reduces strain on heart.
Also breathing slows down, collective effect of all this is one can achieve concentration
of mind.
Precaution This asana is very simple and anyone can practice.
PADMASANA
1 2 3
4 5
Posture Padma means lotus in Sanskrit, in this asana position of the legs look like blooming
lotus. This asana has been given a great importance in the Yogashastra as it is best
suited for Pranayam, Meditation & concentration.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Spread both the legs and keep them at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet.
2. Bend left leg in knee and place its toe on the right thigh and heel on the groin of
the left leg.
3. Bend right leg in knee and place its toe on the left thigh and heel on the groin of
the right leg.
4. Keep the wrists of both the hands on the respective knees and take Dnyana
Mudra.&nbspContinue normal breathing.
Position In this asana the position of the body is stabilized. Keep the backbone erect and sight
straight. If the hands are long then slightly bend those in elbows. There should not be
any strain on any of the muscles.
Releasing
1. Bring the hands beside the waist.
2. Straighten the right leg in the knee.
3. Straighten the left leg in the knee.
4. Get both the legs together, take the sitting posture.
Duration Within 10 to 12 days' practice of this asana, one can maintain this asana for 10
minutes. After more practice this period can be increased to 2 to 3 hours. Sitting for
long in this asana alone can make one experience the pleasure of this asana.
Internal Effects As the backbone is kept erect in this asana, its functioning is greatly improved. Dnyana
Mudra further helps in stabilizing pulse beats. Consequently strain on muscles is
reduced, which in turn reduces strain on heart.
Also breathing slows down, collective effect of all this is one can achieve concentration
of mind.
Precaution This asana is very simple and anyone can practice.
PADMASANA (Utthit)
1 2 3
Posture In this Asana the whole body in Padmasana is lifted up with the help of the hands, and
therefore it is called Utthita Padmasana. The whole body weight is on both the hands.
Pre position Padmasana Position.
Procedure
1. Leave the Dhyan Mudra of the hands and keep them beside the waist as in the
sitting position.
2. Exhale, and inhailing, lift the whole body with the help of the hands and
stabilize this position keeping the breathing smooth.
Position While lifting the Padmasana, do not allow the knees to come down. It is very important
to stabilize this Asana. In order to maintain the balance, keep the shoulders slightly
backward. Keep the eye sight ahead and fixed.
Releasing
1. Inhale, and exhaling, get the body on the floor slowly.
2. Keep both the hands on the knees and restore Dhyan Mudra.
Duration Since the whole weight comes on the hands and further it is to be balanced on the
hands, this Asana should be maintained for thirty seconds or so. There is no point in
increasing duration.
Internal Effects In addition to the advantages of Padmasana it has good effect on the intestines and
the muscles of the body by having good pressure on them.
Precaution While lifting the body on the hands, one may lose balance and fall backward; so one
must be careful at this point.
PARVATASANA
1 2 3
Posture The body is stretched to look like a mountain peak and so it is called the Parvatasana
(parvat means mountain in Sanskrit).
Pre position Sitting Position: Padmasana
Procedure
1. Take both the hands forward and lock the fingers of both the hands together.
2. Take the hands over the head and turn the palms downside up facing the roof.
Stretch the body upwards with the arms stretched towards the sky.
3. Stabilize the position and continue normal breathing.
Position In this asana stretching of the body is important but body is not actually lifted.
Releasing
1. Relax the body and bring the hands as in position 1 in figure above.
2. Take the position as in Padmasana.
3. Straighten the left leg in the knee then straighten right leg.
4. Get both the legs together, take the sitting posture.
Duration You can maintain this asana for long time without any problem.
Internal Effects Stretching the arm, back and abdominal muscles improves the functioning of theses
parts of the body. This helps cure certain problems of spinal column & cord.
Precaution This asana is very simple and anyone can practice.
AKARNA DHANURASANA (Type1)
1 2
3 4
Posture In this asana the body is stretched more like a string of bow when pulled at the time of
archery.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Bend the left leg in knee and keep the foot on the thigh of right leg. Keep the
right leg&nbspstraight.
2. Hold the big toe of the left leg with right hand, hold it between the thumb and
index&nbspfinger and other 3 fingers to have a good grip of the thumb. Hold big
toe of the right&nbspleg with left hand.
3. Exhale and inhaling start lifting the left foot with the right hand and pull it up to
ear.&nbspKeep the trunk and neck erect and the sight fixed on the other end of
the left hand.
4. Continue normal breathing.
Position While trying to raise the foot up to ear, one tends to bend neck. But this is wrong,
initially it may be difficult but it does not matter. Only care should be taken to keep the
neck and trunk straight. Try to pull up the foot as much as possible.
Releasing
1. Inhale and exhaling, start bringing the foot down and place it on the thigh.
2. Restore the hands to their place.
3. Take the left foot to original position.
Duration This asana exerts great strain and one can't maintain it for long but with practice one
can maintain it for up to 30 seconds.
Internal Effects In this asana great strain is exerted on hand, legs and joints of waist and the knees.
Consequently the efficiency of the organs increases.
Precaution One should avoid the temptation of attaining the ideal position if strain is unbearable.
AKARNA DHANURASANA (Type2)
1 2
3 4
Posture This Asana involves another system of pulling the leg which gives the impression of a
bow with an arrow to be shot and hence, the name Dhanurasana.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Bend the left leg in knee and keep the foot on the thigh of right leg. Keep the
right leg&nbspstraight.
2. Hold the big toe of the left leg with left hand, and that of the right leg with the
right hand.
3. Exhale, and inhaling start lifting the left leg with the left hand and pull it up to
the left ear, and stabilize it at that point.
4. Continue normal breathing.
Position When one leg is lifted, the other leg and hand should be kept straight. The sight should
be fixed on the other end of the straight hand.
Once the Asana Position is taken, smooth breathing should continue.
Releasing
1. Inhale, and exhaling bring the left leg on the thigh of the right leg.
2. Restore both the hands to their place.
3. Straighten the left leg and take the sitting position.
Note: Do this asana in the above mentioned manner by taking up the right leg on the
thigh of the left leg bringing in relevant changes in the position.
Duration This latter Asana exerts more strain than the former. It should also be maintained for
thirty seconds to experience its benefits.
Internal Effects In this asana the direction of strain is towards the joints of the waist.
Precaution The person with weak waist joints should not do this asana as it brings great strain to
the joints.
PADMASANA YOGAMUDRA (Type1)
1 2 3
Posture This Asana is performed in Padmasana Position.
Pre position Padmasana Position
Procedure
1. Inhale and take both the hands back and keep the palms facing outside
interlocking the thumbs. Keep both the hands straight.
2. Exhailing bend in the waist and rest the forehead on the floor. Continue
smooth breathing.
Position In this Asana one has to sit in Padmasana and bend in the waist fully. In this process
the abdomen gets folded and that is expected, too. Further in order to get the
abdomen folded properly, one should try to set the forehead on the ground quite
away from the body. Once the bending process is over, continue smooth breathing.
After some practice, while bending in the waist, keep the back bone straight to
experience its nice results. After taking the position, try to relax the body.
Releasing
1. Exhale and inhaling be straight in the waist.
2. Restore the hands on the knees and take up Dhyana Mudra.
Duration It should be retained at least for one minute to get its benefits. After sufficient
practice this duration can be extended upto five minutes and not beyond that.
Internal Effects As the belly gets folded in this Asana, there comes tremendous pressure on intestines,
liver, spleen, certain glands, etc., and this pressure improves their functioning and
removes complaints regarding digestive system & constipation. This Asana is also
used to awaken the kundalini shakti, which, however, requires its prolonged practice.
Precaution One should take care while bending in the waist. Bending process should be slow and
should go with the exhailing process or else one may suffer from air or gas
accumulation in the belly. The people with back problem should practice this Asana
only after consulting some Yoga Expert.
PADMASANA YOGAMUDRA (Type2)
1 2 3
Posture This Asana differs from the earlier one only in the position of hands. However, this
latter variety is more difficult than the former. Besides, it is a more advanced state and
naturally more beneficial. One should first practice type 1 and then pass on to type 2.
Pre position Padmasana Position.
Procedure
1. Inhale, and exhailing set both the palms near the belly below the navel resting
on the heels of the legs. Keep the right hand palm on the left hand palm. Keep
the fingers quite together.
2. Exhailing bend in the waist and place the forehead on the ground. When the
bending process is over, continue smooth breathing.
Position The position of this Asana is the same as type 1. except the position of the hands. Here
first both the palms are placed at the navel. Then, while bending forward, keep the
elbows erect and stuck to the chest ribs.
Releasing
1. Exhale and inhailing get straight in the waist.
2. Keep the hands on the knees and take up Dhyana Mudra.
Duration It is desirable to maintain this Asana at least for one minute to have the expected
benefits. After prolonged practice the duration can be increased up to five minutes.
Internal Effects Owing to the placement of the palms at the navel, there is more pressure on the belly.
This increased pressure makes the benefits of the earlier Asana more prominent.
Precaution This Asana should be done after good practice.
VAKRASANA (Type 1)
1
2 3 4
Posture This Asana is designed to twist the spine to the right and left side in from its erect
position. The spine is made up of highly elastic joints and can be moved to any
direction.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Bend the left leg in the knee and place its heel near the thigh. Keep the sole of
the left foot flat on the floor and the thigh and knee touching to the chest.
2. Place the left hand in front of the right hand in such a way that the fingers of
both the palms face each other and the palms remain flat on the floor.
3. Now turn the neck and the trunk to the right, twisting the spine and look back
above the shoulder. Continue smooth breathing.
Position
1. In this Asana the spine is to be kept straight.
2. The lower end of the spine and both the hips be placed well on the floor and
stabilize them.
3. Then with the support of the neck and shoulders twist the upper vertebrae to
the right. At the same time, the standing knee be kept close to the chest.
4. Alongwith the neck, the sight should also be turned to the right side and
stabilize it in that direction.
Releasing
1. Turn the neck to the front.
2. Restore the hand to its place.
3. Straighten the left leg and take the sitting position.
Note: Following the above mentioned process, practice this Asana placing the right leg
in folding position.
Duration This Asana should be retained for minimum two minutes on each side. With more
practice this duration can be increased 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.
VAKRASANA (Type 2)
1 2
3 4
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
1. Bend the left leg in the knee and place it near the thigh of left leg.
2. 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.
3. 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
1. In this Asana the spine is to be kept straight.
2. The lower end of the spine and both the hips be placed well on the floor and
stabilize them.
3. 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.
4. 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
1. Turn the neck and the sight to the front.
2. Restore the right hand to its place and set right the palm of the left hand.
3. 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 - Half Spinal Twist Pose
Half Spinal Twist pose is one of the best and most important asanas in Hatha Yoga. It has a huge amount of
benefits which cover all the body systems.
(arDHa-matsya-eendra-asana)
Ardha + Matsya + Indra + Asana OR Ardha + Matsyendra + Asana
Ardha = Half
Matsya = Fish
Eendra = King
Asana = Posture
Matsyendra Founder of Hatha Yoga & Nath Tradition
Full Spinal Twist position was the favourite meditation pose of the Sage Matsyendranath so this pose is named
after him. However, as it is a little difficult to practice a simplified form Half Spinal Twist came about.
Taking the asana position:
1. Bend the left leg and place the left foot on the ground over the right knee.
2. Bend the right leg and fold it so that it is resting on the ground with the right heel near the left
buttock.
3. Bring the right hand over the left leg and grab the big toe of the left foot.
Inhale and exhaling twist the trunk of the body as much as possible, turning the neck so the gaze is
over the left shoulder and encircle the waist with the left hand with the palm facing outwards.
Continue to maintain the asana, breathing normally.
The asana position:
In this position there is a strong twist on the spine and abdomen. The right arm is pressed against the left knee and
the left arm is wrapped behind the back, leading to an increased twist on the body. The chest is open and the spine
is erect. One side of the abdomen is compressed and the other side is stretched. The right leg and knee remains on
the floor. The left knee should be close to the right armpit.
Releasing the asana position:
1. Inhale and exhaling turn the neck back to face the front.
2. Release the hands and place them beside the body.
3. Straighten the right leg.
4. Straighten the left leg and return to sitting position.
5. Practice the same on the opposite side.
Anatomical focus:
The spine, hips, abdomen, chest and arms.
Awareness:
The twist on the spine, abdomen and relaxed breathing mostly focusing on chest breathing.
Do:
With the right hand, hold the left big toe from the left of the left knee. If it is difficult to hold the toe
then one can hold the ankle or raise the toes keeping the heel on the ground.
keep the spine vertical, do not bend or drop the shoulder, you can keep the hand on the ground to
support the shoulder.
Encircle the lower back with the left arm, palm facing outwards.
Turn to the left side in the spine; turn the shoulders and head to the left.
Try to keep both of the buttocks firmly on the ground.
Only twist as far as you can and keep your back and neck straight.
Dont:
Lift either of the buttocks off the ground or sit on the heels.
Let the back or neck bend forward.
Overstrain the knees and hips.
Lift the left sole of the foot from the floor.
Benefits:
Increases the elasticity of the spine, tones the spinal nerves and improves the functioning of the
spinal cord.
Stretches the muscles on one side of the body whilst compressing the muscles on the other side.
Relieves back pain and stiffness from between the vertebrae.
Useful for slipped disc.
Massages the abdominal organs and increases the digestive juices making it useful for loss of
appetite and constipation.
Useful for diabetics, with concentration on the pancreas.
Regulates the secretion of bile and adrenaline.
Relieves tension that may have built up in the back from forward and back bending asanas.
Opens the chest and increases the oxygen supply to the lungs.
Loosens the hip joints, relieving stiffness.
Releases tension in the arms, shoulders, upper back and neck.
Increases purification of the blood as well as the internal organs.
Improves round shoulders.
Benefits for Women:
Increases the circulation to the pelvic region and therefore providing fresh blood, nutrients and
oxygen, improving the health of the reproductive organs as well as the urinary system.
Useful for preventing urinary tract disorders.
Beneficial for menstrual disorders.
Therapeutic applications:
Diabetes
Constipation
Anorexia
Cervical Spondylitis
Urinary tract disorders
Menstrual disorders
Indigestion
Precautions and Contra-indications:
Should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation due to the strong twist in the abdomen.
People with Heart, abdominal or brain surgeries should not practice this asana.
Care should be taken for those with peptic ulcer or hernia.
Those with severe spinal problems should avoid and those with mild slipped disc can benefit but in
severe cases it should be avoided.
Duration:
To begin with this asana may be held for only a short time but should gradually be built up to 2 minutes. After
more practice it can be held for up to 5 minutes on each side.
Additional section -
Variations and tips:
If it is difficult to hold the foot or remain in the position there are some other variations that can be used to begin
with.
The right leg can be kept straight instead of wrapping it around the body and/or the left foot can be
placed a little further away from the body, closer to the right foot.
Instead of the holding the left foot with the right hand the feet can be raised, closer to the hands.
Instead of holding the toes the right arm can be bent with the hand pressed against the left shoulder
or the left knee can be held by both the arms.
If it is difficult to balance the left hand can be placed close to the body with the palm on the ground
supporting the torso instead of wrapping it behind the back.
If one wants to get more stretch between the shoulder blades then one can wrap the right arm under the left leg and
behind the body, clasping the left hand.
If there is discomfort sitting on the floor then one can sit on a pillow.
Preparatory poses:
Leg movements
Vakrasana Type 1 and 2
Follow up poses:
After practicing this pose consistently for some time full Matsyendrasana can be practiced.
SHARANAGAT MUDRA
1
2 3
Posture The position of the body in this Asana reflects the feeling of submission to God. The
desire of submitting and becoming one with the Almighty God is central theme of this
Asana.
Pre position Padmasana Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale, and inhaling raise the hands upward from the sides and join the palms.
2. Exhaling, bend in the waist and touch the forehead on the floor keeping the
hands straight. After taking the final position, continue smooth breathing.
Position
1. Like Yogamudra here too the abdomen gets folded. Further, attempt should be
made to have this fold as complete as possible. The frontward stretched arms
greatly help in getting this fold. However, the hands should be kept as much
outstretched as possible.
2. Keep the knees resting on the floor and the spinal column straight.
3. Place the forehead on the floor at farthest distance from the crossed legs. While
outstretching the hands, keep the arms touching the ears. Keep the breathing
normal.
Releasing
1. Exhale, and inhaling start raising the arms, neck and the trunk and straighten it
in the waist. Keep the hands outstretched above the head.
2. Exhaling, bring both the hands down from the sides and take up Dhyana Mudra.
Duration This Asana should be maintained at least for one and half minute to have the desired
benefits. After practice this duration can be increased to three minutes.
Internal Effects This Asana prepares the Sadhaka mentally for the desired submission to the Almighty
God.
VAJRASANA
1 2 3 4
Posture Like Padmasana, this is also the Asana for meditation. One can sit comfortably for a
prolonged period in this Asana.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Fold the left leg in the knee and place the toe on the floor.
2. Fold the right leg in the knee and place the toe on the floor and join the two
toes.
3. Sit on the pit formed by the parted heels.
4. Place the palms on the knees.
Position It is important to keep the spine, the neck and the head, upright in one straight line in
this Asana. Keep the sight fixed at the level of the height. Don't have any pressure on
the hands. The whole weight of the body be set on the spine. Continue smooth
breathing, when the final position is attained.
Releasing
1. Remove the palms from the knees and bring them to the sides.
2. Take out the left leg and straighten it.
3. Take out the right leg and straighten it.
4. Take the sitting position.
Duration After a little practice, this Asana can be maintained for a long time. In the daily routine
it should be kept for five minutes to experience good results. With more practice it can
be kept for three hours.
Internal Effects Along with the body, the mind also gets stabilized in this Asana. Hence, it is preferred
for meditation in this Asana. Hence, it is preferred for meditation and concentration.
This Asana is alsofound to be good for Pranayama.
The special fold of the legs forms one Bandha in this Asana. Consequently the blood
circulation in the waist - downward parts is controlled. For this reason this Asana is
recommended after Shirshasana.
Precaution The people having stiff joints and whose movements have become difficult, should
practice this Asana with a lot of care. Such persons should practice this Asana after
getting the joints free and relaxed.
VAJRASANA YOGAMUDRA (Type 1)
Posture This Asana is performed in Vajrasana Position.
Pre position Vajrasana Position
Procedure
1. Inhale and take both the hands back and keep the palms facing outside
interlocking the thumbs. Keep both the hands straight.
2. Exhailing bend in the waist and rest the forehead on the floor. Continue
smooth breathing.
Position In this Asana one has to sit in Vajrasana and bend in the waist fully. In this process
the abdomen gets folded and that is expected, too. Further in order to get the
abdomen folded properly, one should try to set the forehead on the ground quite
away from the body. Once the bending process is over, continue smooth breathing.
After some practice, while bending in the waist, keep the back bone straight to
experience its nice results. After taking the position, try to relax the body.
Releasing
1. Exhale and inhaling be straight in the waist.
2. Restore the hands on the knees and take up Vajrasana Position.
Duration This Asana being simple can easily be maintained for two minutes and even more.
Internal Effects As the belly gets folded in this Asana, there comes tremendous pressure on intestines,
liver, spleen, certain glands, etc., and this pressure improves their functioning and
removes complaints regarding digestive system & constipation. This Asana is also
used to awaken the kundalini shakti, which, however, requires its prolonged practice.
Precaution One should take care while bending in the waist. Bending process should be slow and
should go with the exhailing process or else one may suffer from air or gas
accumulation in the belly. The people with back problem should practice this Asana
only after consulting some Yoga Expert.
VAJRASANA YOGAMUDRA (Type 2)
Posture This Asana differs from the earlier one only in the position of hands. However, this
latter variety is more difficult than the former. Besides, it is a more advanced state
and naturally more beneficial. One should first practice type 1 and then pass on to
type 2.
Pre position Vajrasana Position.
Procedure
1. Inhale, and exhailing set both the palms near the belly below the navel
resting on the heels of the legs. Keep the right hand palm on the left hand
palm. Keep the fingers quite together.
2. Exhailing bend in the waist and place the forehead on the ground. When the
bending process is over, continue smooth breathing.
Position The position of this Asana is the same as type 1. except the position of the hands.
Here first both the palms are placed at the navel. Then, while bending forward, keep
the elbows erect and stuck to the chest ribs.
Releasing
1. Exhale and inhailing get straight in the waist.
2. Keep the hands on the knees and take up Vajrasana Position.
Duration This Asana should be maintained for one and half minute to have the expected
results.
Internal Effects Owing to the placement of the palms at the navel, there is more pressure on the
belly. This increased pressure makes the benefits of the earlier Asana more
prominent.
Precaution This Asana should be done after good practice.
PASCHIMOTTANASANA (Half)
1 2
3 4 5
Posture Ardha Pashchimottanasana is not an independent Asana. But since Paschimottanasana
(full) is difficult to practice, Pashchimottanasana (ardha) is designed to enable the body
to take the full position later.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Fold the left leg in the knee and place the heel of the left foot near the thigh of
the right leg.
2. Only inhale.
3. Exhaling, hold the big toe of the right foot with the left hand and encircle the
right hand round the waist.
4. Exhale completely, and bend downwards and touch the forehead to the knee.
Don't allow the knee to raise. Continue smooth breathing.
Position The process of downward bending is the same as in Pashchimottasana (full). In this
Asana one leg is folded and the calf and the thigh are kept to the floor.
Releasing
1. Exhale, and inhaling, start raising the head.
2. Restore both the hands to their place.
3. Straighten the left leg and take the sitting position.
Note: Practice this Asana by folding the right leg making the relevant changes.
Duration Initially, even if it is maintained for thirty seconds, one experiences the benefits. Of
course, after practice, it should be increased to four to five minutes.
Internal Effects Basically this Asana prepares the body for Pashchimottanasana (full).
Precaution While bending downward, there is the possibility of the knees and thighs being raised,
and this should be avoided.
PASCHIMOTTANASANA (Full)
1 2
3 4
Posture The front side of the body is called east side, while the back side is called the west side.
In this Asana complete back side, i.e., the west side, right from the heels to the
forehead, gets stretched and therefore, it is called 'Pashchimottanasana'.
Pre position Sitting Position.
Procedure
1. Only inhale.
2. Exhale, and hold the big toes of both the feet with both the hands.
3. In exhaled state bend downward and rest the forehead on the knees. Continue
smooth breathing.
Position
1. After bending down, keep the heels, calves, thighs completely touching to the
floor, keeping the spine straight, rest the forehead on the knees and continue
smooth breathing. Try to rest the elbows on the floor.
2. Since here the abdomen gets completely folded, it becomes necessary to bend
only after complete exhalation.
3. One should bend downward as much as one's body permits and then try to
stabilize at that point, keeping the breathing smooth. Do not try to raise the
knees in order to get the forehead on to the knees.
4. After taking the position, relax the whole body and automatically the head,
shoulder, chest will come down owing to their weight and relaxation.
Releasing
1. Exhale, and inhaling, start raising the head.
2. Restore the hands to their place and take up the sitting position.
Duration One finds it difficult to take up this Asana initially. But with practice and patience it can
be maintained for thirty seconds. Later one certainly succeeds in having the final
position and the duration is also increased to three minutes.
Internal Effects
1. As the whole of the west side gets stretched, they get purified and their
functioning is greatly improved. At the same time, the muscles of the front side
get contracted and there is pressure on the lungs, intestines and other internal
juice producing glands. As a result of this their functioning is also improved.
2. It is very useful in setting right the troubles concerning the lumber part of the
spinal cord and the digestive system.
3. Further, there is very sensitive part in our body known as Kundalini lying in
dormant stage. This Asana is supposed to activate it.
Precaution It has been said that this Asana is useful for the troubles of the spine. Yet people
suffering from such troubles should practice this Asana only after consulting some Yoga
experts.
ANUHASTASANA
Posture In this asana the body is stretched more like a string of bow when pulled at the time of
archery.
Pre position Sitting Position: Vajrasana.
Procedure In Vajrasana place both the palms on the ground ahead of knees touching each other,
push neck backwards and chest forward with waist pushed downwards, in this posture
relax all the muscles, continue normal breathing.
HASTASHIRASANA
Hastashirasana
Posture
Pre position Sitting Position: Vajrasana.
Procedure In Vajrasana bend forward in waist & place both the elbows on the ground 6 to 8 inches
apart and ahead of knees with palms supporting head, in this posture relax all the
muscles, continue normal breathing.
EKPAD SAHAJHASTA BHUJANGASANA
Posture
Pre position Sitting Position: Vajrasana, Hastashirasana.
Procedure In Hastshirasana stretch left leg backwards completely, in this posture relax all the
muscles, continue normal breathing. Repeat this for right leg stretched backwards.
DWIPAD SAHAJHASTA BHUJANGASANA
Posture
Pre position Sitting position, Vajrasana, Hastashirasana.
Procedure In the hastashirasana posture stretch both the legs backwards as shown in figure, keep
12 inch distance between both the elbows, in this posture relax all the muscles,
continue normal breathing.
DATTAMUDRA
Posture
Pre position Sitting position, Vajrasana.
Procedure In the Vajrasana position turn your neck to the left side as much as possible, relax all
the muscles, continue normal breathing.
Repeat this for right side.
Supine Position (Yoga Postures in Supine position)
Lie down on the back with legs together, straight extended, the toes erect and hands straight and palms
resting on the floor.
List Of Postures or Asana In Supine Position
Uttanpadasana with both legs (leg raised pose)
Uttanpadasana with one leg
Vipritakarani (Inverted pose)
Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)
Ashwini Mudra (Horse gesture in shoulder stand)
Matsyasana (Fish pose)
Halasana (Plough pose)
Noukasana (Boat pose)
Shavasana (corpse pose)
Tadagasana (pond pose)
Pavanamuktasana 2 legs (gas release pose)
Pavanamuktasana 1 leg
Ardhachakrasana 1 (half wheel pose)
Ardhachakrasana 2
Anantasana 1
Anantasana 2
UTTANPADASANA (With Both Legs)
1
2
Posture In this asana both the legs are raised upwards and so is called Dwipada(both legs)
Uttanpadasana.
Pre position Supine Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling start raising both the legs upward and stop when they make
angle&nbspof 90 degree with the floor.
2. Keep the sight at the toes of the feet.
3. Continue normal breathing and try to maintain the posture steady.
Position While raising the legs, it is necessary that the legs be kept straight and close together.
Keep the toes together and stretched towards sky.
Releasing Inhale and exhaling, bring both the legs down, back on to the floor.
Duration Though this asana appears to be simple, it is difficult to maintain the posture. To start
with try to maintain this for 5 to 10 seconds. Do not take unnecessary strain, if you feel
uncomfortable then release the posture immediately.
Internal Effects In this asana, thigh muscles and stomach muscles are stretched. The strain reaches inner
organs like small intestines, enzyme producing glands and other organs and helps
increases their capacity. The vertical position of the legs help improve the blood
circulation.
Precaution One should avoid movement of legs with jerk or speed. The movements should be
controlled otherwise this asana can strain muscles.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Raise both the legs at 90 degrees to ground keeping them straight in knees with toes
pointing to the sky.
- Keep the back & buttocks on the ground
- Arms straight with palms resting on the ground close to the body.
- Head straight and eye sight fixed on the raised toes.
Donts
- Do not bend the legs in knees.
- Do not lift the lower back or buttocks.
UTTANPADASANA (With One Legs)
1
2
Posture In this asana one leg is raised up at a time and therefore it is called Ekpad (One leg)
Uttanpadasana.
Pre position Supine Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling start raising left leg upward without allowing it to bend in the
knee and stop when it makes an angle of 90 degree with the floor.
2. Keep the sight at the toe of the left foot.
3. Continue normal breathing and try to maintain the posture steady.
Position While raising the leg, it is necessary that the leg be kept straight. Keep the toe stretched
towards sky.
Releasing Inhale and exhaling bring, the leg down, back on to the floor.
Duration Though this asana appears to be simple, it is difficult to maintain the posture. To start
with try to maintain this for 5 to 10 seconds. Do not take unnecessary strain, if you feel
uncomfortable then release the posture immediately.
Internal Effects In this asana, thigh muscles and stomach muscles are stretched. The strain reaches inner
organs like small intestines, enzyme producing glands and other organs and helps
increases their capacity. The vertical position of the legs help improve the blood
circulation.
Precaution One should avoid movement of legs with jerk or speed. The movements should be
controlled otherwise this asana can strain muscles.
Dos & Donts Dos
From left side
- Raise the left leg at 90 degrees to ground and keep it straight in knee with toes pointing
to the sky.
- Keep the back & buttocks on the ground
- Palms of the hands resting on the ground close to the body.
- The other leg should be straight in knee and resting on the ground with toes pointing to
the sky.
- Head straight and eye sight fixed on the raised toes.
Donts
- Do not bend the legs in the knees.
- Do not lift the lower back & buttocks.
VIPARITAKARANI
1
1 2 3
ASANA POSITION
Posture In 'Hathapradipika' an important book on Yoga accepts this as Mudra rather than asana.
But since this very much resembles with asana position, here we have treated this as an
asana. In this asana body is in inverted position and so is called Viprit Karani (inverted
position).
Pre position Supine Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling start raising both the legs upward and stop when they make
angle&nbspof 90 degree with the floor. Attain the Uttanpadasana posture.
2. Exhaling raise the waist and push the legs backward over the head.
3. Inhailing support the waist with both the hands, straighten the legs and stretch the
toes&nbsptowards sky. Keep the sight on the toes.
4. Continue normal breathing.
Position In this asana the arms up to the elbows are placed on the floor. The body from neck to
the elbows is kept straight. The toes are stretched upward. Initially if it is difficult to
maintain this asana keeping the legs straight then bend the legs slightly while keeping the
balance.
Releasing
1. 1.Inhale and exhaling, slightly lower the legs towards head and maintaining the
balance&nbspof the body remove the hands supporting the waist back to the
normal position.
2. Inhaling , place the waist on the ground keeping legs straight as in the
&nbspUttanpadasana.
3. Exhaling , bring legs back to the normal position without jerk or speed.
Duration This asana is difficult in the beginning especially for women with heavy hips and men with
big belly's. Initially you can take help of other person while raising the hips and waist.
This asana should be maintained for 2 to 3 minutes after sufficient practice to get the
desired results.
Internal Effects Most of the times we remain either in standing or sitting position. Quite opposite position
is taken in this asana. This helps improve the blood circulation as impure blood easily
reaches the heart. To some extent you can get the benefits of Shirsasana (up side down)
in this posture.
Precaution This asana should not be performed by people who are suffering from heart trouble and
blood pressure problems. It can only be practiced under expert guidance.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Keep the legs straight in knees with toes pointing to the sky.
- Raise the lower back & buttocks off the ground.
- Hands, upper arms & elbows on the ground while supporting the waist with the hands.
- Shoulders resting on the ground.
- Head straight and eye sight fixed on the raised toes.
- Note that the legs can be taken towards head for maintaining the balance.
Advanced variation legs can be straightened at 90 degrees to the floor.
Donts
- Do not bend the legs in knees.
- Do not take the legs over your head in the position, but you can take the legs over your
head while taking & releasing the position.
- Do not move the neck while in the position.
- Do not keep the legs and back in one straight line as in Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand).
SARVANGASANA - Shoulder Stand Pose
Sarvangasana is one of the best and most important asanas in Hatha Yoga. It has a huge amount of benefits which
cover all the body systems.
(sar-vang-asana)
Sarva = Whole
Anga = Body parts
Asana = Posture
Taking the asana position:
Exhale and while inhaling, contract the abdomen and slowly raise both the legs to a 90 degree angle
from the floor.
Exhaling raise the waist and the hips from the floor and take the legs backwards over the head.
Inhaling raise the back and the legs up into a vertical position, placing the hands on the upper back
for support. The chin should rest against the chest, creating the chin lock. Fix the eyesight on the
toes and maintaining the asana, continue normal breathing.
The asana position:
One should concentrate on getting the legs, waist and the back in one straight line and making this line 90 degrees
with the ground. In this asana the arms up to the elbows are placed on the floor, shoulder width apart. The body
from the feet to the shoulders is in a straight line. The chest is pushed forward and the chin is placed in the throat
pit / jugular notch forming a tie which is called 'Jalandhar Bandha'. All the pressure is on the neck, shoulders and
the back of the head. The hands are placed on the back ribs, the legs are straight and the feet are relaxed.
Releasing the asana position:
Inhale and while exhaling bend in the waist and lower the legs over the head, releasing the hands
from the upper back.
Inhaling slowly lower the back to the floor, keeping the legs at a 90 degree angle from the floor.
Here lower the back very slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae.
Exhaling slowly lower both legs back to the supine position.
Anatomical focus:
Neck, shoulders, abdomen
Awareness:
Keeping the body in a straight line.
Remaining balanced.
Abdominal breathing.
The focus can also be on the throat and the thyroid.
Do:
Keep the legs straight in knees with toes pointing to the sky.
Try and keep the body in a straight line from the chest to the tips of the toes.
Head straight and eye sight fixed on the toes.
Make sure that the trunk is raised enough vertically so that the chin can comfortably rest against the
chest.
Dont:
Bend the knees.
Move the neck or overstrain it in the chin lock position.
Bring the legs over the head when in the asana position but dont keep them completely vertical if it
causes tension.
Raise the head from the floor.
Tense the legs or point the feet as this contracts the legs and prevents drainage of blood.
Benefits:
The Jalandhar Bandha improves the function of the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands due to
the increase oxygen and blood. All of the other endocrine glands are regulated by the pituitary
gland and so the overall function of the endocrine system is improved. This results in the improved
functioning of all other systems of the body and the reduction of emotional and mental stress .
Stagnant blood from the lower regions of the body, i.e. legs and abdomen is drained to the heart
thereby improving the supply of fresh blood to these parts and the whole circulatory system. Blood
supply to the head area i.e. brain, eyes, ears, nose and throat is improved thereby improving their
functioning. Therefore all of the pelvic and abdominal area circulation, ear, throat and nose
ailments are improved.
The lung capacity is increased as the diaphragm, which is the muscle of respiration, has to work
against gravity in this posture, this helps in the abdominal respiration and is therefore helpful in the
treatment of asthma. Toxins in the respiratory system are drained thereby improving the respiratory
system.
Prevents and cures varicose veins.
Detoxification of the body due to improved efficiency of the organs of the body which leads to
youthfulness and anti-ageing effects
Normalizes body weight due to its effect on the thyroid.
Due to the effect this asana has on the hormonal system, particularly the thyroid, it balances the
circulatory, digestive, reproductive and nervous system.
Due to the increased blood flow to the head the mind is tranquilized, stress and psychological
disturbances are removed.
The increased blood flow can be beneficial for those who suffer from headaches, though it should
not be practiced at the time of headache.
The thymus gland is stimulated which boosts the immune system.
It balances the parathyroid glands which ensures regeneration and normal development of the
bones.
It releases the normal gravitational pressure from the anus muscles which helps with haemorrhoids.
The nerves passing through the neck are toned and the neck flexibility is increased.
The digestive system is greatly improved due to the increase in blood circulation and drainage of
stagnant blood.
The pranic flow is harmonized, increasing energy and having a positive effect on all the body
systems.
Sarvangasana has all the benefits of Shirshasana but is safer and easier to perform.
Benefits for women:
It is beneficial for the reproductive system as there is fresh blood to the pelvic region as the
stagnant blood is flushed from the organs and therefore increased efficiency of the reproductive
organs.
It strengthens the uterine ligaments as the gravity acting on the ligaments in Sarvangasan is in the
opposite direction.
It improves the functioning of the ovaries.
It helps to balance the moods and calm the mind.
Therapeutic applications:
Thyroid disorders
Asthma
Reproductive problems
Headache
Haemorrhoids
Varicose veins
Prevention of cough and colds
Diabetes
Precautions and Contra-indications:
Should not be performed by people suffering from high blood pressure, heart conditions or brain
diseases.
Should be avoided during menstruation and pregnancy.
Should be avoided if suffering from a very enlarged thyroid, enlarged spleen or liver as well as
cervical spondylitis, slipped disc, headache and weak blood vessels in the eyes.
Duration:
This asana is difficult in the beginning especially for women with heavy hips and men with big bellies. This asana
should be maintained for 3 minutes after sufficient practice to get the desired results.
Variations and tips:
One may need a folded blanket under the neck and shoulders for support.
For some beginners it may be difficult to raise the legs straight. If so then one can bend the knees a
little while taking the position and then straighten out the legs. Some can take help of the wall to
raise the legs.
If there is tension in the back or neck then the feet can be slightly tilted over the head like inverted
pose or viparit karani.
Preparatory poses:
Dwi Pada Uttanpadasana
Viparit Karni
Follow up poses:
Matsyasana is essential to practice after Sarvangasana to counter balance the effect of the Jalandhar Bandha.
Otherwise an asana that bends the head backwards like Bhujangasana or Chakrasana.
Halasan, Vistrut Pada Halasana, Karnapeedanasana and Ashwini Mudra can be practiced after Sarvangasana,
before Matsyasana.
ASHWINI MUDRA
Ashwini Mudra
Posture Ashwa means horse, in this asana a similar movement of expansion and contraction of
anus of horse is expected. To achieve maximum movements a specific position is taken
which is called 'Ashwini Mudra".
Pre position Supine Position - Sarvangasana position.
Procedure
1. Fold both the legs in knees.
2. Fold the legs in waist and press the thighs against stomach.
3. Contract and expand the anus in this position.
4. Continue normal breathing.
Position One should start practicing this asana when stability in Sarvangasana is achieved. As for
the position complete folding of legs in knees and waist is very important. Similarly the
calves should touch the thighs. Do not bend the back during the position. Bending of back
brings knees close to the mouth and that is not desirable.
Releasing
1. Stop contraction and expansion of the anus.
2. Straighten the legs in the waist.
3. Straighten the legs in the knees and take the Sarvangasana.
Duration It should be maintained for up to 45 seconds, and can be increased to 2 minutes.
Internal Effects This Mudra has particularly good effects on the empty spaces in the stomach. Due to the
pressure functioning of these parts is improved.
It also has good effects on Uterus in women.
Precaution Any healthy person can practice this asana but women suffering from Uterus problems
should do this asana under expert observation.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Raise the entire back & buttocks off the ground.
- Legs are bent in knees and knees are just above the head or towards the ears so that
the back remains straight & vertical.
- Try pressing the thighs in to abdomen and chest.
- Hands, upper arm & elbows on the ground while supporting the back behind chest.
- Shoulders resting on the ground.
- The chin resting in the sternal notch. (In Chin lock position)
Donts
- Dont bend the back.
- Dont let the knees come to the ground or away from the body.
- Do not move the neck or overstrain it in chin lock position.
MATSYASANA
1 4
2 5
3 6
Posture In this asana posture the shape of the body appears similar to fish in the water. Such a
statement is bold as the fact is we don't recognize the posture as fish but one can float on
the water without any movement in this asana.
Pre position Supine Position.
Procedure
1. Spread the legs one foot apart.
2. Fold the left leg in the knee and place it on the right thigh.
3. Fold the right leg in the knee and place it on left thigh.
4. Now with the help of the elbows raise the head, curve the back backwards and
place the top of the head on the floor, making the arch of the back.
5. Hold the toes of the feet with hands and continue normal breathing.
Position In this asana, the thighs and knees are completely placed on the ground. As the back is
stretched in curve and head on floor, lot of weight is shifted to the head and throat is
stretched.
Releasing
1. Release the toes of the feet and support the shoulders with the elbows.
2. Slowly reducing the weight on the head, straighten the neck and bring the
shoulders on the floor.
3. Straighten the right leg.
4. Straighten the left leg.
5. Bring back both the legs to normal position and take supine position.
Duration This asana is complementary to Sarvangasana and Halasana, so should be maintained for
one tenth of the period of the Sarvangasana or Halasana.
Internal Effects Jalandhar Bandha in Sarvangasana pressurizes the thyroids and pituitary glands but in
Matsya Bandha these glands are stretched. These opposite processes help improve the
circulation in these glands assuring healthy functioning.
Also the thigh & abdomen muscles are stretched systematically.
Precaution The weight over the head should be taken out slowly. The support of the hands should be
removed only when the head is completely ready to bear the weight. Also while releasing
the position, one should avoid jerks and speedy movements. Maintain the asana until it is
bearable and pleasant.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Lift the head with the support of hands, elbows.
- Try to rest the crown of the head on the ground.
- While taking, releasing & maintaining the position, support the head and neck very
carefully.
- Try to keep soft cushion under the head.
Simple variations
- One can keep the legs straight
- The legs can be folded in swastikasana or samasana or a simple cross legged position.
- For taking the position, one can go on the elbows from sitting position and while resting
on the elbows, try resting your crown on the floor.
Advanced variation
- Legs are in padmasana (lotus pose), try holding toes with hands without elbows resting
on the ground.
Donts
- Do not move or pull or turn the neck while you are in the position.
- Do not remove the support of the elbows to neck.
HALASANA
1
2 3 4
ASANA POSITION
Posture The body takes the shape similar to a plough ( Hala in Sanskrit ). Also as the plough
makes the hard ground soft, in this asana the veins are stretched which reduces the
stiffness of the body.
Pre position Supine Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling, start raising both the legs upward and stop when they make
angle&nbspof 90 degree with the floor. Attain the Uttanpadasana posture.
2. Exhaling raise the waist, hips and push the legs backward over the head. Try to
maintain the balance.
3. After exhaling completely, push the legs further back and try to touch ground with
toes. Keep the toes stretched.
4. Continue normal breathing.
Position Keep the knees straight or else the expected pressure on the organs is not achieved. In
this position head, the shoulders, toes and arms should rest on the ground. The chin
pressed in Jalandhar Bandha.
Releasing
1. Exhale and inhaling lift the toes of the floor keeping the legs straight in knees.
2. Continue inhaling and slowly keep the back on the ground and take the
Uttanpadasana&nbspposition.
3. Exhaling, bring legs back to the normal position without jerk or speed.
Duration This asana is difficult initially, especially for women with heavy hips and men with big
belly's. Initially you can take help of other person while raising the hips and waist. This
asana should be maintained for 30 seconds after sufficient practice to get the desired
results.
Internal Effects In this asana the spine is stretched fully in a curve. It becomes more elastic and its
overall functioning is improved. Like in Sarvangasana Jalandhar Bandha is performed and
the same advantages are achieved.
All the muscles from toes to waist are also stretched helping improvement in the
functioning of veins.
This asana is also useful for gastric troubles, digestion problems.
Precaution Avoid jerks or speedy movements as it might cause some injury to the backbone. So the
movements should be controlled at every stage of this asana.
People suffering from spleen and lever complaints should do this asana after consulting
Yoga expert.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Keep the legs straight in knees with toes vertical on the ground over your head.
- Raise the entire back & buttocks off the ground.
- Legs are in one straight line.
- As far as possible, the back remains straight & vertical.
- Arms straight with palms on the ground.
- Shoulders resting on the ground.
- The chin resting in the sternal notch. (In Chin lock position)
Advanced variation
- One can extend the toes backwards so that top of the foot rests on the ground.
Donts
- Do not bend the legs in knees.
- Do not move the neck or overstrain it in chin lock position.
NAUKASANA
1
2 3
Posture In this asana the shape of the body looks like a yacht and hence it is called Noukasana
(Yacht in Sanskrit). There is another Noukasana which is practiced in prone position. The
difference between these two is in this supine Noukasana muscles of abdomen and
stomach are contracted and in the prone position Noukasana the muscles are stretched.
Pre position Supine Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling, start raising both the legs upward and stop when they make
angle&nbspof 45 degree with the floor.
2. Hold breathe, and in the same position raise the shoulders and the back. Hold the
toes of the legs with both the hands.
3. Continue normal breathing.
Position Keep the knees straight or else the expected pressure on the organs is not achieved. In
this position it is always difficult to maintain the balance of the body but with practice one
can achieve the steady posture. If initially you can't catch the toes then hold the legs at
ankles but don't bend the legs in knees.
Releasing
1. Inhale & exhaling bring the hands to normal position releasing the toes.
2. Continue exhaling and slowly bring the legs to normal position.
3. Attain the supine position.
Duration Due to the balance and strain involved in this asana, initially it is difficult to maintain it for
long. One can practice it for up to 15 seconds after sufficient practice.
Internal Effects The size of the BELLY reduces due to the contraction of the abdomen from both the sides.
Organs like lever, intestines, pancreas, kidneys etc. are pressurized which helps in
improving the functioning.
Precaution Though this asana is useful for abdomen problems, people who have been operated on
abdomen should not do this asana.
Dos & Donts Dos
- Keep the legs straight in knees and inclined at 45 deg angle with the floor.
- As far as possible the back remains straight.
- Arms straight with fingers holding the toes.
- Eye sight fixed on the toes.
- You may start from sitting position if it is difficult to achieve the position from supine
position.
- Try to balance on the buttocks.
Donts
- Do not bend the legs in knees.
- Do not bend the arms in elbows.
SHAVASANA - Corpse Pose
This asana is known as Shavasana or Corpse Pose as it looks like a dead body. This asana is one of the easiest
asanas to get into but the most difficult to practice. It is one of the best relaxation poses and if practiced correctly
and with full efforts, can relax every body part, relaxing not only the body but also the mind.
SH-vaa-sana
Shav+Asana
Shav = Corpse
Asana = Posture
Taking the asana position:
Spread the legs one to two feet apart, the toes are turned outwards, the heels facing each other, a
comfortable distance apart.
Bring the arms a little away from the body, palms turned upward.
Relax the neck and allow it to turn to the side if it is more comfortable.
Close the eyes and focus the attention on the body, breathing normally.
Begin focusing each body part and relaxing it, then moving on. Keep the mind focused on
relaxation, the breath should be normal. Relax the whole body.
The asana position:
This asana looks very simple to practice but is actually highly difficult. To keep the body in a corpse like state is
the external position and is not so important. What is important, and lies in the success of this asana is keeping the
mind focused on relaxing every body part. To be able to do this the body needs to be in a comfortable, soothing
position and state. In each position of the body there is a kind of strain or pressure on every muscle, called tone.
The aim of this asana is to reduce this strain and give the muscles the real rest and relaxation that they need. All
the muscles cannot be relaxed immediately after taking the shavasana position, therefore one has to relax each
muscle with great deliberation. One has to pacify and relax the mind, freeing it from thoughts, worries and ideas.
One has to think of each and every body part (the amount of detail will depend on the time available) and relax it,
from the crown of the head to the toes. The direction of relaxation can vary from crown to toes or from the right
hand, to right foot and then left hand to left foot, finishing with the back and head. The mind and body are deeply
connected. If the mind is occupied by thoughts and worries then the shavasana will be unsuccessful. Therefore one
has to acquire the stability of the mind along with the stability of the body.
When one first goes into the asana the motor neurons that innervate the skeletal muscles are still firing nerve
impulses. As the breath becomes more regular and relaxed the nerve impulses slowly begin to drop. The
rhythmical movement of the respiratory diaphragm leads to deeper relaxation and eventually even the nerve
impulses to the deep postural muscles of the torso are minimised.
After taking the position first attempt to free the mind from thoughts and worries and concentrate on the body.
Then concentrate on each body part, relaxing it. After relaxing the whole body turn the mind to the direction of the
breath. Do not allow the mind to control the breath but let it be slow and relaxed. The more the body relaxes, the
slower the breath will become.
In the final position the whole body is completely relaxed, the breath is very slow and the mind is stable and quiet.
Releasing the asana position:
First one should prepare ones mind for releasing the asana.
Make small movements of the fingers and toes.
Straighten the neck.
Bring the arms back next to the sides.
Bring the legs together and open the eyes.
Anatomical focus:
On every body part.
Awareness:
On relaxing every body part, relaxed breathing.
Do:
Keep the mind focused on relaxing. If thoughts come do not stress about them but let them pass.
Keep the spine in a straight line.
Avoid moving the body parts as even the slightest movement will use many muscles and increase
the nerve impulses.
Keep the eyes closed.
Dont:
Go to sleep, let the mind wander or move the body.
Wear tight fitting clothing.
Benefits:
Right from the time of conception to the time of death innumerable processes continue operating
incessantly inside the human body. Even when the body seems quiet or asleep these processes do
not stop. It can be said that the relaxation of the body depends upon the scale of slowness of these
operations, therefore an attempt is made to slow down these internal operations.
Every activity inside the body needs oxygen, supplied through blood circulation. When we need
more oxygen the circulation is increased which leads to an increase in respiration. In Shavasana an
attempt is made to break this cycle by slowing down the speed of activities in the body. By
practicing this asana the internal operations slow down, slowing the breath and therefore pacifying
the mind. A new cycle is formed.
Leads to a relaxed mind which allows you to see and relate to the world in a more realistic light, be
more efficient in work and bring more happiness into life.
Integrates the feeling of relaxation into the conscious and unconscious awareness.
Relaxation of entire nervous system, body and mind.
Relieves stress on the body and mind.
Removes disturbing thoughts and tensions.
Relaxes the muscles which lead to a decrease in the demand for blood and oxygen, giving the
circulatory and respiratory systems a break.
Beneficial for all stress related ailments.
Rejuvenates the body and mind.
Removes stress and fatigue.
Improves the functioning of the brain.
Decreases high blood pressure.
Useful for preventing and improving heart complaints.
When the body is relaxed the awareness of the mind increases and this leads to the development of
pratyahara.
Can be used for insomnia.
Benefits for Women:
The benefits of shavasana cover the whole body but there are also some benefits especially for
women.
Shavasana can be very useful during menstruation as it gives a deep relaxation to the muscles and
also to the mind. If a women is feeling tearful, angry, irritable, tired or just plain stressed Shavasana
will help. It will give the peace and calm needed by relaxing the muscles, focusing the mind and
getting rid of any anxieties or worries. Shavasana can also help if there is any lower back or pelvic
pain. By focusing on the stressed parts the women can relax the area and relieve the pain.
During pregnancy it is a great practice to do at any time of the day, especially if feeling tired or
emotional.
Irregularities in the menstrual cycle are often indicative of a larger problem. Shavasana helps to
rebalance the body and relaxes every body system.
It is beneficial for emotional disturbances, stress, anger, depression and frustration, redirecting the
energy and giving a feeling of calmness and freshness.
Therapeutic applications:
All stress related diseases
Fatigue
High blood pressure
Heart complaints
Stress
Anxiety
Insomnia
Precautions and Contra-indications:
Avoid going to sleep as this will prevent the decrease in nerve impulses as well as the deep relaxation.
Duration:
There is no time duration as it is a relaxation pose. It should be practiced whenever the body becomes tired, before
and after asanas it is necessary and also between asanas when required. It is especially necessary after dynamic
asana series like surya namaskar. It may also be practiced separately during the day, when needed, after a hard
days work or before going to sleep.
Variations and tips:
There should be some padding under the body and if necessary a little under the head, however the
mat should not be soft as this will induce sleep. If the ground is slanted then let the head be lower,
this prevents a drop in blood circulation to the brain and other vital organs. For those with lower
back pain and light cushion can be placed under the lower back. Some may need a small cushion
under their knees also.
Lengthen the body a little as when the muscles relax they also lengthen. If the body is relaxed
without a little stretch then the body may feel cramped a bit after the practice.
If you are prone to low blood pressure then very slowly move from shavasana by first turning to the
left side and then sitting up. This will increase the blood flow through the heart and prevent
dizziness.
If you are prone to falling asleep then keep the legs a little closer together. This will give a mild
moola bandha which will prevent sleep. Either this or bring the upper extremities closer together
which will give a small amount of tension. If this is not enough then focus on the breath, giving a
simple inhale and exhale focus.
For those who are not accustomed to relaxing the muscles and body many issues may arise, such as
mental or psychological issues. If you cannot come to terms with these issues then you may try to
avoid or be uncomfortable in this asana. To overcome this a wholistic yoga practice of asanas is
needed, ideally with other yogic techniques.
If it is consistently difficult to relax then try a sequence of tensing and then relaxing the muscles.
First the arms, then the legs, then the pelvis, lower back and abdomen, followed by the chest and
upper back, then the facial muscles. Finish by tensing the whole body and then relaxing. By doing
this the Golgi tendon receptors stimulate relaxation.
TADAGASAN
Posture
Pre position Supine Position.
Use Generally practiced to get rid of fatigue, strain, exertion etc.
Position Take supine position, then bend both legs in knees and bring toes near to hips with legs 1
to 1.5 foot apart, cross arms around head. Relax all your body muscles and continue
normal breathing. While releasing slowly move legs to original position, hands to normal
position.
PAVANAMUKTASANA (Both The Legs)
1
2 4
3 5
ASANA POSITION
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
1. Exhale and inhailing, start raising both the legs and come to Dwipada
Uttanpadasana Position.
2. Bend both the legs in the knees and keep the folds on the belly. Keep the knees
and toes together.
3. Now keep the belly pressed with the thighs and clasp the folded legs with both the
hands.
4. 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
1. Straighten the neck and bring the head on the floor.
2. Unfold the hands and bring them to their earlier position.
3. Inhailing, straighten both the legs and come to Dwipad Uttanpadasana Position.
4. 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.
Dos & Donts Dos
- 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.
Donts
- Do not strain your neck.
PAVANAMUKTASANA (One Leg)
Posture The knee and thigh of one leg is 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.
Position Take supine position, then bend left leg in knee and press it against stomach/ chest, hold
it with both the arms around, without disturbing the posture relax all muscles and
continue normal breathing.
Releasing While releasing slowly move hands to normal position, leg to original position.
Repeat this with right leg pressed against chest/ stomach.
Duration
Internal Effects
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.
ARDHACHAKRASANA 1
Posture
Pre position Supine position , tadagasana
Use
Position Take supine position, attain tadagasana posture then join both the legs & knees, lift your
waist and make straight line of your spinal column as shown in fig. Try to remain in this
position without disturbing the posture, relax all muscles and continue normal breathing.
While releasing slowly lower the waist to touch the ground, legs to original position.
ARDHACHAKRASANA 2
Posture
Pre position Supine position , tadagasana, ardhachakrasana 1.
Use
Position Take supine position, attain ardhachakrasana 1 posture then straighten left leg in knee
and try to remain in this position without disturbing the posture, relax all muscles and
continue normal breathing. While releasing slowly bring the left leg back to normal, lower
the waist to touch the ground.
Repeat this with right leg stretched. While releasing slowly bring the right leg back to
normal position.
NANTASANA 1
Posture
Pre position Supine position.
Use
Position Take supine position, turn on left side, place the elbow of the left hand on ground with left
palm supporting your head as shown in figure. Keep right hand near your chest on
ground, continue normal breathing.
Repeat this for right side.
While releasing slowly bring hands to the normal position and take supine position.
NANTASANA 1
Posture
Pre position Supine position, Anantasana 1.
Use
Position Take supine position, attain Anantasana 1 posture , bend right leg in knee and place the
toe on left thigh. Keep right knee steady pointing towards roof, hold index finger of the
right leg by right as shown in figure.
Continue normal breathing.
Repeat this for right side with left leg on right thigh.
While releasing slowly bring hands to the normal position and take supine position.
Prone Position (Yoga Postures in Prone position)
In this position you lie down in prone on front side of the chest and abdomen with the chin on the floor. Both
hands lying besides the thighs, and palms resting on the floor.
List Of Postures or Asana In Prone Position
Saral Hasta Bhujangasana (Straight arm Cobra pose)
Vakra Hasta Bhujangasana (Bent arm Cobra pose)
Shalabhasana Half (locust pose)
Shalabhasana (locust pose)
Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
Noukasana (Boat pose)
Makarasana (crocodile pose)
Adhvasana
Bhujangasana, Cobra pose
Half Spinal Twist pose is one of the best and most important asanas in Hatha Yoga. It has a huge amount of
benefits which cover all the body systems.
(Bhu-JAN-ga-asana)
Saral straight
Hasta arm
Bhujanga cobra
In this position the body takes the position of cobra, raising its body and preparing to strike.
Taking the asana position:
Bring both the hands near the chest and place the palms on the ground with the fingers together
pointing forward and thumbs pointed towards the body. The elbows should be raised towards the
ceiling close to the body. Place the forehead on the ground.

While inhaling slowly raise the forehead, bend the neck backwards and then slowly raising the
shoulders, chest and abdomen from the ground until the arms are straight, very slowly, vertebrae by
vertebrae, stretching backwards. Continue to maintain the asana, breathing normally.
The asana position:
In this position the pressure is felt on the arms and hands as well as the lower back. Over time this pressure can
gradually be placed more on to the lower back. One should try to raise the body up with the help of the spine.
Once the final position is attained the arms are straight, the chest is forward and open, the shoulders and neck are
back and the heels are together. The neck is compressed and the throat is stretched. The facial muscles should be
relaxed. The breathing should be normal.
Releasing the asana position:
Inhale and while exhaling slower lower the abdomen, chest and finally the forehead on the ground using the
support of the arms.
Place the chin on the floor and return the arms back to the prone position.
Anatomical focus:
The lower back and stretch on the front side of the body.
Awareness:
The arch of the back, relaxing the lower back and normal breathing. Also on abdomen and chest while breathing in
a relaxed way through chest.
Do:
Try and keep the arms straight, palms on the ground.
Try and keep the knees and ankles together, toes pointed.
Gaze towards the ceiling.
You can lift the hips and thighs if the back is not flexible.
Open the chest; pull the shoulders backwards and downwards.
Relax the lowerback and raise the hips if you experience pain in lowerback.
Dont:
Have any distance between the legs.
Let the shoulders hunch upwards towards the ears.
Benefits:
Helps to remove backache and neck ache as well as keeping the spine supple and healthy. By arching the
spine blood circulation is increased to that region toning the nerves along the spinal column and improving
the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
The pressure on the abdomen is also beneficial to the abdominal organs and in particular the digestive
organs, it stimulates the appetite, relieves flatulence and constipation.
Tones the kidneys which help with purification of blood, removing any stagnant blood and improving the
health of the whole body.
Strengthens the adrenal glands which is responsible for secretions of adrenaline, cortisol and othe stress
hormones, the balancing effect on the hormone secretions is the benefit of asanas.
Tones the liver, making it beneficial for those with a sluggish liver.
Helps the functioning of thyroid gland, which is responsible for metabolic activities.
Expands and opens the chest which encourages deep breathing as well as helping to correct rounded
shoulders.
Useful for slipped disc and sciatica as it relieves the pain and can also relocate the slipped disc.
In normal day-to-day life we do a lot of forward bending but not much backward bending, therefore it is
good to practice for a healthy back and to give general balance to the body.
Benefits for Women:
o Tones the ovaries and the uterus and helps to alleviate gynaecological disorders such as leucorrhea
(irregular vaginal discharge due to an imbalance in oestrogen), dysmenorrhoea (painful
menstruation) and amenorrhoea (absent menstruation).
Therapeutic applications:
Back ache
Neck pain
Gynaecological disorders
Anorexia
Flatulence
Constipation
Sluggish liver
Impure blood
Stress
Slipped disc
Precautions and Contra-indications:
Should not be practiced by those with severe problems of the spine, stomach ulcers, hernias or pregnant women.
It should be practiced with care for those with stiff backs and for those who are menstruating. Also not
recommended for people with heart diseases. Should not be practiced by those who have undergone surgeries of
spine, brain, abdomen, heart and lungs.
Duration:
To begin with this asana should be held for 5 to ten seconds. It can be repeated 3 to 5 times, depending on the
individuals capacity. With practice the number of repetitions can be increased. At this point reduce the number of
repetitions but increase the time. Gradually increase the time to 1 minute. After more practice the time can be
increased up to 3 to 5 minutes.
Additional section -
Variations and tips:
When practicing the pose some people may have their hips on the ground whilst others will have them
lifted. This will depend on two reasons. Firstly the flexibility of the back and secondly the body shape and
length of the arms.
Try to relax the lower back as much as possible when attaining the position as it will be difficult to get a
nice arch and stretch in the back if the back is tense. The more the lower back is relaxed, the more the rest
of the body will relax.
To counter balance the stretch in the body practice shalabhasana after saralhasta bhujangasana.
Preparatory poses:
Sahajahasta Bhujangasana
Follow up poses:
Vakrahasta Bhujangasana
Niralamba Bhujangasana
Shalabhasana
Naukasana
Dhanurasana
Ancient texts:
Reference from Gherand Samhita by Sage Gherand
Angushthanabhiparyantmadhobhumau Cha Vinyaset I
Dharaam Karatalabhyam Dhrutvaurdhvasheershah Phaneev Hi II (Gherand Samhita 2 -42)
Meaning: Touch the body to the ground right from the great toe to the navel. Touch both palms to the ground and
raise the head like the hood of the snake.
Dehagnirvardhate Nityan Sarvarogvinashanam I
Jagarti Bhujagi Devi Bhujangasanasadhanaat II (Gherand Samhita 2 43)
Meaning: On studying Bhujangasana the fire in the body gets stimulated and it destroys all diseases. Moreover the
kundalini also gets aroused with the study of this asana.
This asana has been given great importance as it stimulates the digestive fire, this idea of stimulation is related to
making the digestive system so strong that it destroys all the diseases by providing proper energy and nutrients to
all other parts of the body. Yoga and ayurveda believe in treating the digestion for many problems. So perfect
health is achieved if the digestion is perfect. Also the Asana purifies the nadis and purifies the sushumna nadi
which awakens the dormant kundalini energy at mooladhar chakra.
VAKRA HASTA BHUJANGASANA
1
2 3
Posture The shape of the spinal column is similar to that of a cobra raising its head.
Pre position
Prone Position.
Procedure
1. Bring both the hands close near chest and place palms on the floor with fingers
together pointing to the front and the thumbs drawn towards the body.
2. Elbows of both the hands should be kept raised towards the sky. Now touch the
forehead to the ground and exhale.
3. Inhaling, gradually first raise the forehead and then the chin, chest and neck, and
curve the spinal column. Keeping the waist, thighs and knees pressed to the floor,
raise the upper part of the body only upto the naval. In this position the hands
remain bent in the elbows, and the palms placed firmly on the ground. After taking
this final position, continue normal breathing.
Position Initially you will feel the weight to be on both the hands but with practice it you can shift
this to the spinal cord. In the final position keep the hands straight, chest forward. Keep
the spine in arch.
Releasing
1. Inhale and exhaling, with the support of the spinal column, start lowering the
shoulders&nbspslowly with first abdomen touching the floor and then chest,
forehead.
2. Place the chin on floor and hands back to the original position. Attain prone
position.
Duration Initially practice it for 5 to 10 second. After practicing it for few days you can increase the
repetitions, once you are able to do 5 repetitions easily then reduce repetitions and
increase the time up to 1 min.
Internal Effects This asana is concerned with the spinal cord and the muscles of the stomach. Due to the
stretching the efficiency of the digestive organs increases. To some extent back problems
are reduced as the blood circulation is improved.
Precaution People suffering from Back problems, TB in intestine, ulcer in stomach, harnia should
consult Yoga expert before practicing this asana.
Jerks and unbearable strains should be avoided.
SHALABHASANA (Ardha Shalabhasana)
Posture Shalabh means 'locust' as the position of the body in the asnana appears to be like that of
a locust. To facilitate easy learning first we will learn Ardha Shalabhasana.
Pre position Prone Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling, raise the left leg from the waist keeping it straight in the
knee. Keep the toe stretched to the backside and continue normal breathing.
2. Take the precaution that leg is straight in knee as otherwise the strain on
desired&nbsporgans is reduced and desired results are missed. During the practice
chin should rest on ground.
Position In this asana leg should be raised and kept stable without allowing it to bend in the knee.
The chin should rest on the ground. The muscles of the shoulders neck and head should
be kept relaxed. But the muscles of the thighs and abdomen should be kept stretched.
When one leg is raised, the other one should be kept straight and pressed to the floor.
Releasing Inhale and exhaling bring the left leg down on the ground and then back to the prone
position.
Duration Initially practice it for 5 to 10 second. After practicing it for few days you can increase the
repetitions, once you are able to do 5 repetitions easily then reduce repetitions and
increase the time up to 1 min.
Internal Effects This asana mainly centers the lower vertebra of the spinal cord and the muscles of the
abdomen and thighs. The strain activates their blood circulation. As a result of this the
concerned organs become more active and efficient. This strain is effective on small and
big intestine and certain enzyme producing glands.
Precaution People suffering from Back problems, TB in intestine, ulcer in stomach, harnia should
consult Yoga expert before practicing this asana.
Jerks and unbearable strains should be avoided.
SHALABHASANA (Complete)
Posture Shalabh means 'locust' as the position of the body in the asnana appears to be like that of
a locust. To facilitate easy learning first learn Ardha Shalabhasana.
Pre position Prone Position.
Procedure
1. Exhale and inhaling, raise both the legs from the waist keeping them straight in
the knees. Keep the toes stretched to the backside and continue normal breathing.
2. Take the precaution that the legs are straight in knees as otherwise the strain on
desired&nbsporgans is reduced and desired results are missed. During the practice
chin should rest on ground.
Position Keeping the raised legs straight in the knees, stretch the toes towards the backside. At
this point the legs may tremble, but this trembling can be stopped if the raised legs are
slightly lowered. Attempt should be made to raise the legs as much as possible without
having any tremble and then stabilize them at that point and keep the breathing normal.
Releasing Inhale and exhaling bring both the legs down on the ground and then back to the prone
position.
Duration Only difference between Ardha Shalabhasana and this asana is that both the legs are
raised simultaneously instead of one in this asana. As the strain is more, the duration be
reduced.
Internal Effects This asana mainly centers the lower vertebra of the spinal cord and the muscles of the
abdomen and thighs. The strain activates their blood circulation. As a result of this the
concerned organs become more active and efficient. This strain is effective on small and
big intestine and certain enzyme producing glands.
Precaution People suffering from Back problems, TB in intestine,Ulcer in stomach, harnia should
consult Yoga expert before practicing this asana.
Jerks and unbearable strains should be avoided.
DHANURASANA
1 2
3 4
Posture The body takes the shape of Bow and therefore it is called Dhanu ( Bow in Sanskrit)
asana. As the bow is strained during the archery, the whole body id stretched during this
asana posture.
Pre position Prone Position.
Procedure
1. Bend both the legs in knees and keep them 6 to 8 inches apart from each other.
2. Catch both the legs firmly near the ankles.
3. Exhale & inhaling pull the legs upward with the hands, allow the body to be
stretched&nbspin a curve, push the neck backwards.
Position After taking the final position, try to raise the thighs up from ground along with shoulders
and chest. Push the neck backwards as much as possible.
Releasing
1. Inhale and exhaling bring both the knees, chin and shoulders slowly on the
ground.
2. Leave the ankles and bring the hands beside the body.
3. Straighten the bent legs and bring them as in the prone position.
Duration Initially practice it for 5 to 10 second. After practicing it for few days you can increase the
repetitions, once you are able to do 5 repetitions easily then reduce repetitions and
increase the time up to 1 min.
Internal Effects This asana is a combination of both Bhujangasana and Shalabhasana and can deliver
benefits of both the asanas. Mainly the weight is taken by the abdomen. This has
favorable effect on enzyme producing organs, liver, pancreas, small intestine and big
intestine. As a result of this the concerned organs become more active and efficient. Also
the blood circulation in arms and legs is improved.
Precaution People suffering from Back problems, TB in intestine, ulcer in stomach, harnia should
consult Yoga expert before practicing this asana.
Jerks and unbearable strains should be avoided.
People suffering from Abdomen problems should not do this asana without consulting
Yoga expert.
NAUKASANA
1
2 3
Posture The body achieves the shape of a yacht , therefore it is called Nouka
(yacht or boat in Sanskrit) asana.
Pre position Prone Position.
Procedure
1. Stretch both the arms forward, keep them on the floor with palms closed together.
At&nbspthe same time place the forehead on the floor.
2. Exhale and inhaling, lift the arms & neck in the front, and legs in the back upwards
as much as possible without bending them.
3. Continue normal breathing and try to maintain the posture steady.
Position In this asana both the arms both the arms should be raised keeping the palms joined
together. Legs also should be kept together. Head should be at the level of arms. The
complete weight of the body on abdomen.
Releasing
1. Inhale and exhaling bring, both the knees, chin and shoulders slowly on the
ground.
2. Leave the ankles and bring the hands beside the body.
3. Straighten the bent legs and bring them as in the prone position.
Duration This asana is more difficult than dhanurasana so it is difficult to maintain it for few
seconds also initially, try to practice it for 5 to 10 second. After practicing it for few days
you can increase the repetitions, once you are able to do 5 repetitions easily then reduce
repetitions and increase the time up to 1 min.
Internal Effects In this asana, muscles of legs and hands are stretched more than Dhanurasana. The
strain reaches inner organs and increases their capacity. It also acts on back muscles and
helps remove complaints related to digestive system.
Precaution People suffering from Back problems, TB in intestine, ulcer in stomach, harnia should
consult Yoga expert before practicing this asana.
Jerks and unbearable strains should be avoided.
People suffering from Abdomen problems should not do this asana with out consulting
Yoga expert.
MAKARASANA
1
2 3
ASANA POSITION
Posture Position like that of a crocodile.
Pre position Prone Position.
Procedure In the prone position place your both hands crossed around head or rest your forehead on
it, relax all the muscles, continue normal breathing.
1. Bring the arms forward and fold them. Then place the forehead on the folded
elbows and relax the neck.
2. Spread the legs and keep them at a distance of a foot or so, with the heels inside
and the toes outside. Then relax the legs.
3. Keep the whole body relaxed. Try to touch as many parts of the body to the floor
as possible. Keep the breathing normal and the head in a positoin which is
comfortable.
Position This asana being for relaxation, the muscles of the body should not be strained. So attempt should be
made to relax all muscles and the joints of the body.
Releasing
1. Bring the feet together.
2. Unfold the arms & get them back as before and come to the Prone Position.
Duration The aim of this asana is to release the strain caused by other asanas. Therefore, this asana should be
maintained for two to three minutes.
Internal Effects As all the muscles are relaxed, they need less blood and oxygen supply. Consequently, the heart beats
and the breathing also slow down. Now as the whole basic operation turns slow, the body gets good
rest.
Precaution In this asana the whole body is relaxed. As the body is relaxed one is inclined to sleep which one
should strictly avoid.
ADHVASANA
Adhvasana
Posture
Pre position Prone Position.
Procedure In the prone position place your forehead on ground, stretch your hands forward and join
them ahead of your head as shown in figure. Stretch your legs in opposite direction, relax
all the muscles, continue normal breathing.