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Legs

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Ek Pada Uttanasana

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How to do Ek pada uttanasana? Standing straight; raise your left leg upwards. Lean forward and grab hold of your leg, keeping your knee straight. Standing straight, hold your leg in front of you. Hold for 30sec- 1min. Then repeat on the other side.  

Ardha Kapotasana (Half pigeon pose)

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How to do Ardha Kapotasana? Assume posture no. 3 of surya namaskar, Ashvasanchalan, with the left leg in the front. Drop the right knee on the floor and flatten the foot bringing the hip closer to the ground. Drop the left knee to the floor such that the left foot comes close to the hip on the right side. Place your left hand on the left knee and the right hand on the left foot. Stretch your elbows and hold the posture letting your hip settle. Once comfortable here raise both your hands over the head with the palms together. Repeat the same on the other side. Benefits: This asana provides a great stretch for the hip, knee and also the lower back. Contra-indication : In case of knee injuries practice under supervision.

Dancing Natrajasana

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Natraja is one of the names given to lord Shiva, when he appears as a cosmic dancer. Nata meaning "dancer", Raja meaning "king”. How to do Natrajasana? Stand erect with the feet together. Transfer weight to the left leg and bend the right leg to hold the big toe with right hand. As you bend the right knee swivel your shoulder to bring the elbow to face the ceiling, allowing the foot to come near the head. The other hand is stretched out forward, with fingers in jnana mudra. Gaze at the outstretched hand. Stay in this posture as long as comfortable. Come back to stand. Relax. Repeat on the other side. Benefits: This asana is great for strengthening back, shoulders, arms, hips and legs. And for developing a sense of balance, concentration and grace.

Paschimottanasana

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Asana Description: This forward bend asana rejuvenates the spine and tones the abdominal organs and gets rid of sluggishness. Paschima means west or back of the body and uttana intense stretch or extension and asana posture or pose. How to do Paschimottasana? Sit with the legs out stretched with the feet together. Place the hands on the knees. Relax your body in this posture. This is the starting posture. Slowly bend from your hip, slide your hands down your legs and grasp your big toes between your thumbs and fingers. If this is not possible you may hold your heels, ankles calves or knees. Hold this position and relax your back and legs allowing them to gently stretch. Without bending your knees gently pull your torso towards your legs. Pull using the arm muscles, do not strain the back. Try to touch your head to the knee. Be careful not to strain. This is the final posture. Hold in this posture for as long as comfortable. Counter-Indications: People suffering from back problems, slip-disc, sciatica, hernia should not practice paschimottanasana.

Janusirsasana

Asana Description: Janusirsasana quite literally means head to knee pose. In Sanskrit ‘janu’ means knee, sirsha means head and asana pose or posture. Janusirsasana is a forward bending posture that strengthens and stretches the shoulders, spine, groins and hamstrings while simultaneously stimulating the livers and kidneys. It is beneficial for people suffering from high bloods pressure, insomnia and sinusitis and also helps relieve menopausal symptoms, menstrual discomfort, stress & anxiety. How to do Janusirsasana? Sit with the legs out stretched with the feet together. Bend the left leg and place the heel of the foot at the perineum and allow the sole of the foot to rest against right inner thigh. Keep your spine stretched and back muscles relaxed. Slowly bend forward sliding your hands down your right leg and try to hold your right foot. If possible hold your right foot with both your hands. Try to touch your forehead on the right knee. This is the final position. Stay in this posture for as long as is comfortable. Slowly sit up and straighten the left leg. Return to the starting posture and rest the hands on the knees. Change sides and repeat with the right leg bent and left leg straight. Practice up to 5 times each side. Counter-Indications: People suffering from back problems, slip-disc, sciatica, hernia should not practice this asana.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)

The pose teaches you how to stabilize your legs while you open and expand the sides of your rib cage, training the muscles that support good breathing. It also tones the muscles that run along the sides of your body, from the outer heel to the outer hip, along the torso, and up to the outer arm. Developing this strength gives you the structural support you need to lift and lengthen your spine. For this reason, Side Angle Pose is a fundamental pose to practice regularly. How to do Utthita Parsvakonasana: - Start with legs about one meter apart, toes facing the side of the mat. - Inhale and extend the arms out to the side. Turn the right toes to face the front of the mat, keeping the back foot parallel to the back of the mat. - Bend the right leg to a 90 degree angle, being sure to press the outer edge of the left foot into the mat, keeping the back leg firm. - Bring the right hand down to the outer edge of the right foot (to the mat or to a block, depending on flexibility) and extended the left hand toward the sky. - Begin to stretch the left hand over the head, so bicep is close to the ear. Turn the chest upward and use the core to lift the spine. - Stay here for up to 45 seconds and repeat on the other side. How it helps: Utthita Parsvakonasana strengthen and stretches the legs, knees and ankles. It stretches the groin, spine, waist, chest and lungs. Because the muscles of the legs are so large it consumes a lot of energy to strengthen them, therefore extended side [...]

Ardha Padma Merudandasana (Half lotus spinal column pose)

Before attempting this pose you should be comfortable with both padmasana and merudandasana. How to do ardha padma merudandasana: - Sit with legs strait in front of the body. - Slowly bend the right leg and grasp the top of the foot, placing it on top of the left thigh. The sole should face upward and the heel should be close to the pubic bone. - Bend the left leg and place the sole of the foot on the floor. - Interlock all ten finger and place the hands just below the ball of the left foot. - Straiten the spine and tighten the core to help you balance. - Lean slightly back onto the coccyx and, once the body is balanced, begin to straiten the left leg. Push the heel forward and pull the toes in toward the face. - Slowly return to the starting position and perform on the other side. How it helps: Ardha padma merudandasana is great for digestion. The heel of the right foot massages the internal abdominal organs. It helps to stimulate peristalsis, alleviating constipation. It strengthens the muscles of the back and helps to realign the spine.

Merudandasana (Spinal Column pose)

How to do Merudandasana: -Sit with the legs outstretched - Bend the knees and place the feet flat on the floor in front of the buttocks about half a meter apart. Holding the big toes slowly lean back, balancing on the coccyx. - Straiten the legs and arms, raising them upward. -Steady the body, keeping the spine strait, then separate the legs as wide as possible, do not strain. - Hold the final position, keeping the gaze focused on a fixed point. - Bring the knees together at the center, bend the knees and lower the feet to the floor. How it helps: Merudandasana tones the abdominal organs, especially the liver, and strengthens the abdominal muscles. It helps to stimulate intestinal peristalsis, alleviating constipation. It tones the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, strengthens the muscles of the back and helps to realign the spine. It helps to remove tiredness from the legs, giving a feeling of lightness and balance.

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

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Ardha Chandrasana can be performed on its own or as part of chandra namaskar, also known as salutations to the moon. The twelve positions of surya namaskar relate to the twelve solar phases of the year, the fourteen positions of chandra namaskar relate to the fourteen lunar phases, ardha chandrasana being the additional pose in the sequence. The mantra for ardha chandrasana is Om Vahnivasinyai Namaha, salutations to the one who resides in fire. How to do Ardha Chandrasana: - Begin in a lunge position, making sure that the knee is directly over the ankle and finger tips and toes are in one line.   - Tuck the back toes so the weight is on the ball of the foot. - Maintain balance here and raise the hands, stretching both arms over head. - Arch the back and look up, raising the chin. - There should be a gentle curve from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes, resembling  a crescent moon. - Hold the pose and breathe deeply. Lower the arms and place the hands on either side of the foot, change the legs and repeat on the other side. How it helps: Ardha chandrasana is great for opening up the shoulders and the hips. Its gives a stretch to the quadriceps and hip flexer as well as manipura chakra, stimulating digestive fire.

Ashtavakrasana

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Mythical reference: In Indian mythology this asana is dedicated to Sage Ashtavakra, the spiritual precipitator of King Janaka of Mithila. He was born with eight deformities, hence the name Ashtavakra. In Sanskrti ashta means 'eight' and vakra 'deformities'. How to do Ashtavakrasana? 1.     Stand with your feet about a metre apart. 2.     Bend your knees, place the right hand between the feet and the left hand just in front of your left foot. 3.     Lift your right leg and place the thigh on your right upper arm just above the elbow. 4.     Place the left foot between your arms bringing it closer to the right foot. 5.     Lift both legs for the floor and interlock them by placing the left foot on the right ankle 6.     Stretch both your legs to the right side. 7.     Ensure that the right arm is between the legs and the right upper arm straight. 8.     Balance on the arms. 9.     Bend your elbows; lower the trunk and head, so that they are parallel to the floor. 10.  Stay in the final posture for as long as is comfortable. 11.  To release, slowly straighten the arms and raise the trunk. Unlock the legs and lower them to the floor. 12.  Return to the starting posture. 13.  Repeat on the opposite side. Counter-Indications: This posture must be attempted only once the shoulders and arms have become very strong. If you have high blood pressure, heart ailments, back or hip problems please do not attempt this asana.   - Komal Jyoti

Chakrasama (Wheel pose)

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Chakrasana (wheel pose)   How to do Chakrasana? -Lie on the back with knees bent and the heels touching the buttock. – Place the palms on the floor besides the head with the fingers pointing towards the shoulders. This is the starting position. […]

Surya Namaskaar (Sun salutation)

  SURYA NAMASKAR is a complete Sadhana (spiritual practice) in itself for it includes asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation techniques.  In English we know the practice as Sun Salutation; which is the literal translation of the Indian (Sanskrit language) term. It is interesting to learn that the Sanskrit word ‘Surya’ (meaning the Sun) – literally translates into ‘Beautiful Light‘. This is an indication that Surya Namaskar is at once an energizing practice. In the ancient times; people would practice Surya Namaskaar at sunrise; the practice would be done facing up to the sun. The Yogis of yore refined the practice into something resembling the modern day practice with a sequence of 12 postures. For the Yogis; it became a staple practice to loosen the limbs in the mornings, and also as a preparation and warm-up for the other Asanas and Pranayam practices they would undertake. In fact the various postures in Surya Namaskaar helped in energizing each of the 7 Chakras (energy centers) in the human body. How to practice Surya-Namaskaar? The practice involves 12 poses – alternately stretching the Spine backwards and forwards; and with alternate Inhale and Exhale instructions. Also, each posture has a chant associated with it - these are all different Sanskrit names of the Sun. Pranamasana   Position 1--Pranamasana (prayer pose)  "Om Mitraya Namah"  Keep the eyes closed and remain standing upright with the feet together and palms together in front of your    chest in namaskara mudra.  Mentally offering homage to the sun, the source of energy.  Relax the whole body.  Benefits: This pose establishes a state of concentration and calmness in preparation of the practice to  be performed. Hasta Uttanasana   Position 2--Hasta Utthanasana (raised arms pose) "Om Ravaye Namah"  Raise [...]