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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.

Spinal Twist in Ashwasanchalanasana

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Assume posture no. 3 of surya namaskar, ashwasanchalan. With the left leg in the front. Allow the back knee to rest on the floor. Take your right arm over the left knee so that the armpit is resting over the knee. This will allow you to turn your upper body to face the left side. Join your hands to make a Namaste at the centre of your chest. Gaze at your left elbow. This is the final posture. Hold for as long as comfortable. Repeat on the other side.

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.

Kati Naukasana (Rotated Boat)

How to do Kati Naukasana? Assume the final position of naukasana Twist your upper body so that the upper body is facing the left side. Turn lower body so that toes are facing the right. This is the final posture. Hold for as long as comfortable. Repeat on the opposite side. Benefits: This asana removes lethargy by toning all organs and stimulating the digestive, muscular, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems.

Naukasana (Boat pose)

Asana Description: How to do Naukasana? Sit down on the floor with the knees bent and palms resting on the floor near the hips. Inhale and straighten your knees so that the feet are no more than 15cm above the floor, simultaneously lean back with the hands stretched out straight in front of you. Arms and feet are at the same level with the palms facing downwards. Balance only on the buttocks. Gaze at your toes. Benefits: This asana removes lethargy by toning all organs and stimulating the digestive, muscular, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems.

Padma Mayurasana

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How to do Padma Mauryasana? Sit in padmasana. Come up to stand on the knees, place palms flat on the ground in front of you with fingers facing backwards towards knees. Bend the elbows and bring them closer together. Lean forward and place each elbow on the either sides of the abdomen. Lean forward further and slowly rest your chest on the upper arms and transfer the body weight on to the arms. Once comfortable lean further and lift the folded legs off the floor. Balance in this position for as long as comfortable.   Practice note : Padma mayurasana is easier to practice than mayurasana especially for women.

Ek Hath Santolanasana

Asana Description: How to do Ek Hath Satolanasana? Assume the final position of Santolanasana Slowly bring the right hand in the center and raise the left arm straight up so that both the arms are in a line and the chest faces forward. Outer side of the right foot is firmly on the ground and the left foot is placed on top of it. This is the final posture. Balance in this position keeping the body straight. Repeat on the left side. Benefits : Practice of this asana strengthens the thighs, spine, arms and shoulders.

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.

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.

Padahastasana (hands-to-feet forward bend)

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Padahastasana is one of the most important Yoga forward bending asanas. It is repeated twice in each Surya Namaskaar round as well. How to do it? 1. Stand upright with a very slight gap in between your feet and inhale. 2. Exhale and Bend forward from the hips until your palms or fingers touch the floor on either side of the feet , without bending your knees. 3. Bring the forehead as close to knees as you can. 4. Hold this pose for 30sec to 1 min with steady and calm breathing. 5. Inhale and stand upright again. Contra-indications: People suffering from back conditions should not bend forward fully. they can bend from the hips keeping the back straight making a 90 degree angle with the legs.   - Ruchi Renavikar

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 [...]