The importance of Bandhas in Yoga- Steps & Benefits

Yoga Bandhas.JPG

Bandha is a yogic lock which enables a yogi to block and then direct the flow of pranic energy in certain ways to change the energy pattern in the body. Remember, when the water flow gets obstructed and then when it gets free, the flow of water becomes much faster with increased pressure, the same thing reflects in Bandha. In this practice, the energy flow to a particular area of the body is blocked and when it gets released, the energy flow becomes stronger. The breath is held during the practice of Bandha. This can be practised either retention of breath inside or outside. There are four types of Bandhas as follows.

  1. Jalandhara Bandha (Throat or Chin Lock)
  2. Uddiyana Bandha (Lift of Diaphragm or Abdominal Lock)
  3. Mula Bandha (Root or Anal lock)
  4. Maha Bandha

Uddiyana and Maha Bandha should only be practised after exhalation, while Jalandhara and Mula Bandha can be practised either after inhalation or exhalation. Bandhas can be practised by either sitting in Vajrasana, Sukhasana or Padmasana. This can be practised before starting the practice of meditation.

Precautions

Discuss with your doctor before practising Bandhas, if you have any recent medical concerns. This breathing exercise should be done on empty stomach having a gap of 4-5 hours between practice and your meal. Practitioners suffering from low or high blood pressure, heart diseases, Ulcers or breathing problem should avoid practising Bandhas. It is advisable to practise Bandhas under the guidance of an experienced Yoga teacher.

Mula Bandha (Root or Anal lock)

Mula Bandha, otherwise known as Anal or Root lock is located in the perineum. It is often advised to hold this lock throughout the asana practice, as it is thought that it keeps all your life prana inside and prevents from leaking down and out. This lock is performed by contracting the perineum muscles of males, whereas for females the contraction involves the region located at the opening of the womb. This can be practised either with Kumbhaka or Rechaka. It awakens the Muladhara Chakra which is located at the base of the spine. In Sanskrit, it’s called मूल बंध.

Benefits

  1. This Bandha helps in stimulating digestion and the endocrine system.
  2. Tones organs in the pelvic regions and increases control over the sex drive.
  3. Regular practice helps to release in depression, stress, anxiety and promotes calmness and energy.
  4. Mula Bandha strengthens your pelvic floor and gives relieve in haemorrhoids.
  5. Since Muladhara chakra gets activated during the Mula Bandha, you get awakened with consciousness and kundalini energy.

Steps

  1. Sit on Padmasana or Sukhasana with your eyes closed and spine erect.
  2. Inhale deeply and hold your breath.
  3. Place your hands on the knees. Bring your upper body slightly forward and looking at your nose, touch your chin to the chest.
  4. Now, concentrate on the Muladhara Chakra (Perineum) and lift your muscle from the groin area (Contract the anal muscles).
  5. Hold your breath and muscular contraction as long as you feel comfortable.
  6. Now, exhale and return to the original position.

Jalandhara Bandha (Throat or Chin Lock)

This is one of the must to do bandhas to get rid of diseases and lead a healthier life. Jalandhara came from the Sanskrit word Jal and Dhara. Jal means the flow of water and Dhara means stopping the flow. This can be practised either with Kumbhaka or Rechaka. Jalandhara Bandha, otherwise known as Throat or Chin Lock is located in the neck. It prevents prana from leaking out of torso throughout the throat. It awakens the Muladhara Chakra which is located in the throat region. In Sanskrit, it’s called जालन्धर बंध.

Benefits

  1. Bandhas stop the flow of blood and when it gets released, there is an increased flow of blood which improves blood circulation throughout the body.
  2. This flushes dead cells, renews, rejuvenate and strengthens your organs.
  3. Helps to concentrate and focus.
  4. Since energy channels get purified, it brings balance and equilibrium in your body while release stress and blockages.
  5. This pose helps to improve the functions of Thyroid, parathyroid glands and spinal cord.
  6. Regular practice can improve the metabolism and overcome the ageing and decay of the body.
  7. Bandhas help to get the blood flow to the vocal cord and thus becomes beneficial for singers and speakers.

Steps

  1. Sit on Padmasana or Sukhasana with your eyes closed and spine erect.
  2. Place your hands on the knees. Take a deep breath and raise your chest and hold your breath for few (8 to 10) seconds.
  3. Now, exhale completely to clear out air from lungs.
  4. Hold your breath and bend forward slowly.
  5. Ensure to push your head and neck to the chest.
  6. Lower your chin while contracting your neck and throat muscles.
  7. Now, looking at your nose, touch your chin to the chest.
  8. Concentrate on the Vishuddhi Chakra and hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable.
  9. Now, to release raise your chin, neck and come to the starting position.

Uddiyana Bandha (Lifting of Diaphragm or Abdominal Lock)Bahya Pranayama.JPG

Uddiyana Bandha, otherwise known as upward flying is located in the abdomen. In this lock, the breath is kept held outside (Kumbhaka). This lock is performed by pulling the abdomen muscles inwards and upwards while pushing the abdominal muscles against the back side of the spine towards the rib cage. Generally, it is practised along with the Jalandhara Bandha. This lock enables the Prana and Apana to merge at the solar plexus and thus improves the digestive power. It awakens the Manipura Chakra which is located at the naval region. In Sanskrit, it’s called उड्डियान बंध.

Benefits

  1. This Bandha helps to stimulate, lift and retain your prana
  2. It improves the functioning of the adrenal glands.
  3. Brings a higher level of awareness and aids in the higher practices of Dhyana and Samadhi.
  4. Massages internal organs, increases circulation and thus improves digestion.

Steps

  1. Continue from step 9 of Jalandhara Bandha.
  2. Concentrate on the Manipura Chakra and pull your abdominal muscles in and up under the rib cage such that your stomach and back seem to touch each other from the inside.
  3. Hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable.
  4. Now, to get released from the pose, take a deep inhalation and release the muscular tension.

Maha Bandha

When we combine all the above three bandhas, it becomes Maha Bandha. Practise this Bandha after you become comfortable with all three Bandhas. Start with Mula, then Uddiyana and then Jalandhar Bandha. Reverse the order, while you release the Bandhas. In Sanskrit, it’s called महा बंध.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your Bandhas practise and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

“Yoga is a tool for realigning our awareness with the divine, creating a state of oneness that is our true nature”

How to do Warrior Pose II & its Benefits

How to do a Warrior Pose II
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When you practice Yoga, your yoga mat becomes the battlefield and obviously, the monkey mind is your enemy as it asks you many questions whether you can practice this pose or that pose. What you need at that time to learn the practice? Umm, You need to strengthen your body and mind to achieve that, isn’t it? There is one yoga pose which helps you to face the challenge and defeat them gracefully with determination. We are talking about a Warrior Pose which is called as Warrior Pose II.

Vira-Courageous or Warrior | Bhadra- Good or Auspicious | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna, Sanskrit- वीरभद्रासन. Sometimes, this pose is also called as Virabhadrasana II. This is one of the most graceful poses in Yoga. This basically celebrates the achievements of a mythological warrior. This asana is named after the Hindu mythological warrior called Virabhadra who was an incarnation of Lord Shiva. People say Virabhadra was a tall, dark and fierce warrior depicted with a thousand arms, thousand feet, wearing a tiger’s skin and a garland of skulls.

Level of Asana: Basic Series, Beginner Yoga, Vinyasa style

Stretches: Shoulders, legs, lungs, ankles and groin

Target areas: Ankles, legs

Benefits of Warrior Pose II

  1. This asana helps to promote courage, endurance and improves concentration
  2. Therapeutic for infertility, flat feet, sciatica, osteoporosis, and carpal tunnel syndrome
  3. Stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion
  4. Stretches shoulders, groins, chest, and lungs
  5. Strengthens and tones abdomen, ankles and arches of the feet
  6. Beneficial for pregnant women in their 2nd trimester as it helps to relieve backaches
  7. Helps to increase flexibility, stamina and develops the balance of body
  8. Increases blood circulation throughout the body
  9. Improves your breathing (respiration) capacity

Precautions

If you have any recent or current medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners suffering from high blood pressure, recent knee, hip or shoulder injury shouldn’t practice this pose. People suffering from diarrhea should avoid this pose. Practice this pose under the supervision of a certified yoga teacher, if you had spinal disorders in the past or have just recovered from an illness. If you are suffering from neck problems, then don’t turn your head to look over the front head. Keep your head straight with both sides of the neck lengthened evenly.

Steps to do a perfect Warrior Pose II

  1. Stand straight in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and with an exhalation spread your legs about three to four feet apart.
  2. Turn your left foot 90 degree outwards and your right foot inwards by about 15 degrees. Make sure that the heel of your left foot is aligned perfectly with that of the right foot.
  3. Now, raise both your arms sideways so that they are at your shoulder height with palms facing downwards and arms parallel to the floor.Warrior Pose-II
  4. Inhale and as you exhale, bend your left knee. Ensure that your left knee and left ankle are in one straight line. Gently turn your head and look to the left.
  5. When you feel comfortable in this position, stretch your arms and gently push your pelvis down. Keep the sides of torso equally long and shoulders should be placed directly over the pelvis.
  6. Press the tailbone slightly towards the pubis. Keep breathing and stay in this pose just like a warrior stays on a battlefield.
  7. Now, inhale and come out of the pose. Exhale and drop your arms. Come to the Tadasana.
  8. Relax and repeat this pose with the other side.

Variations and Modifications

If beginners find their hips very tight, then shorten your stance and straighten your front leg to a degree that is comfortable. Place your hands on your hips if you have a shoulder injury or if you are still building your upper strength. When you bend the left knee to a right angle, bend it very quickly with an exhalation, and aim that the inside of the left knee is towards the little toe side of the left foot.

If you want to increase the stretch in the torso, lean the torso slightly away from the bent leg, and tilt your arms parallel to the line of the top of your shoulders.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Practising Warrior Pose II requires your attention, concentration and proper alignment. Always remember that the leg and foot should be placed first. Ensure that your front knee is aligned with your front ankle. Don’t allow your knee to drift to the left, as this can strain the knee joint and you will end up injuring yourself. Instead of that slightly move out toward the baby toe. Keep your focus on a single point and be like a warrior.

Understand the procedure correctly to reap the benefits of this pose. This pose is pretty beneficial for pregnant women in their second and third trimesters. You must consult your doctor and yoga teacher before practising this pose. Use support at the knee, if you have arthritis or knee problems.

Preparatory Poses

Vrikshasana

Utthita Trikonasana

Baddha Konasana

Supta Padangusthasana

Follow Up Poses

Vrikshasana

Utthita Trikonasana

Bakasana

Warrior Pose II is an amazing tool to build your inner strength and stability. It requires strength, stability and lot of flexibility in the upper body and hips. Practice this pose regularly, and you will become stronger to face daily chaos and battle with ease and grace. Now, you know all the benefits of Warrior Pose and how to be a true warrior, then why to wait? Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day! Never force your body to master the pose. Take your own time and practice within your own limits and ability. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

“Calming the mind is Yoga. Not just standing on the head.”- Swami Satchidananda

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How to do Crescent Lunge Pose and its Benefits

“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.”

How to do Crescent Lunge Pose

Are you in search of building strength and improve concentration and balance? Today, we are talking about a powerful standing pose which would help to build strength, balance and mental focus. This pose is called as Anjaneyasana. The name Anjaneya comes from matronymic of Hanuman, whose mothers name is Anjani.

Anjaneya-Salutation | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as AHN-jah-nay-AHS-uh-nuh, Sanskrit- अंजनेयासन. Sometimes, this pose is also called as Salutation Pose, which is normally performed in Sun Salutation sequence.

Level of Asana: Basic Series, Vinyasa

Stretches: Glutes, quadriceps and hips

Target areas: Legs, groin and hip

Benefits of Crescent Lunge

  1. This asana helps to expand front of your body.
  2. Reduces fatigue, stress and increases energy by building mental focus
  3. Develops flexibility, stability and balance of your body
  4. Strengthens thighs, hips and butt
  5. Opens chest, shoulders and front torso
  6. Stretches hip flexors, legs and groin of your body
  7. This pose also helps to relieve Sciatica pain

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners suffering from heart problem or high blood pressure shouldn’t practice this pose. People suffering from spinal or knee injury should avoid this pose.

Steps to do a perfect Crescent Lunge

  1. Start by entering to Downward Facing Dog Pose. Exhale and step the right foot forward in between your hands.
  2. Now, bend your front knee to 90 degrees and make sure that your right knee is aligned over the heel of your right foot.
  3. Keep your feet hip-width apart and ensure that both feet are facing forward. Keep your front shin perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Stay on the ball of your back foot and lift the heel. Draw the heel forward so that it will be directly aligned over the back toes.
  5. Now, lift your back leg, bring your knee and quadriceps up towards the ceiling and straighten your back leg.
  6. Draw your left hip forward as you press your right hip back. If you are finding it difficult to keep your back leg raised while placing your toes on the ground, then slowly lower your knee to the ground and slide your leg back as shown in the picture. Rest the top of your back foot on the floor.
  7. Inhale and raise your torso. Lift your arms over your head and draw your tailbone towards the floor.
  8. Open your arms so that the palms can face each other. You can also join your palm to come into Prayer Pose. Now, gaze towards the ceiling and then slowly shift back focus to your palm. This will lengthen your body.
  9. Engage the muscles of your abdomen so that you can stabilize your core and balance your body. Ensure that your front shin is vertical.
  10. Stay in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable. To release, bring your hands back to the mat and return to Downward Facing Dog Pose. Relax and repeat on the other side.

Variations and Modifications

Beginners might find it difficult to practice High Lunge in the initial days. They can practice Low Lunge Pose. To reach in that pose, bring your back knee to the floor and rest your back toes. If you are suffering from a shoulder injury or still in the initial days and struggling to build upper body strength, then place your hands on your hips.

If you have already mastered this pose and now wants to deepen the stretch in the quadriceps, then bend your back knee and draw your toes up towards the ceiling. Reach back and gaze towards your hands.

If you want to improve balance, then start practising this pose facing a wall. Press the big toe of your front foot against the wall and reach your arms up and forward. Rest your fingertips on the wall.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Understand the procedure correctly to reap the benefits of this pose. Ensure that your front knee is aligned with the front ankle. Never allow your knee to move to the left, as this can invite injury to your knee joint. Engage the thigh of your back leg and shift your back heel forward. Ensure that your feet are hip-width apart, this will help to maintain balance.

Preparatory Poses

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Hero Pose (Virasana)

Follow Up Poses

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Warrior Pose

This pose helps to improve awareness and concentration. Regular practice of this pose will bring physical and mental equilibrium in your life. Now, you know all the benefits and how to do both High Lunge and Low Lunge Pose, then why to wait? Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day!

How to do Yoga Nidrasana & its Benefits

Yoga Nidrasana

“Yoga takes you into the present moment. The only place where life exists.”

What is your most preferred and performed asana in the yoga session? There are many, isn’t it? Today, we are talking about such a popular yoga posture which is practised by both genders and all age groups. Now, you must be thinking why people practice this pose and what’s the name of this pose? It’s called Yoga Nidrasana or Yogic Sleep Pose.

Yoga-Union/Unity | Nidra-Sleep | Asana-Pose/Posture

This asana is pronounced as Yoga-Nidraasana, Sanskrit- योगनिद्रासन. In this pose, you come to the sleeping position and place both the legs behind your head. The objective of this asana is to deeply stretch your lower back and hamstrings. It requires extreme flexibility in the hips and back of your legs. Interesting, isn’t it?

Level of Asana: Intermediate Series, Ashtanga

Stretches: Legs, hips and spinal muscles

Target areas: Feet, legs, hips, waists, stomach, chest, neck, and hand

Benefits of Yoga Nidrasana

  1. Improves blood circulation of your body and stimulates the central nervous system
  2. Stretches chest, lungs, shoulders, throat, upper and lower back
  3. Stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion
  4. Strengthens and stretches the bones of the spine
  5. Stretches ligaments in the neck region
  6. Improves spinal flexibility and shape the belly
  7. Creates a better posture and reduces mental stress
  8. Tones adrenal glands, pancreas, kidney and lungs
  9. Provides relief from menopause and menstrual cramping

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners suffering from leg, hips, back or waist injury shouldn’t practice this pose. Pregnant women and women having periods should avoid practising this pose. It’s always advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher or ask for your partners help.

Steps to do a perfect Yoga NidrasanaHow to do Yoga Nidrasana.png

  1. Lie on your back in Supine position. Inhale and bring up your left leg.
  2. Hold your left foot with both hands and slowly move the foot behind your head while exhalation.
  3. Now, inhale and bring up the right leg and slowly place it behind the left ankle. Ensure that you are rolling back, and your right leg is behind your head.
  4. Cross the feet one above the other and hold the feet in the middle of toes.
  5. Now, move your shoulders out through legs. Inhale and lengthen your body. While you exhale, reach both your hands behind the back and hold the hands.
  6. Keep breathing gently and stay in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable.
  7. To release from the position, gently move your right leg out and then the left leg.
  8. Now, relax in Savasana or Corpse Pose. Repeat this pose for 2 to 3 times.

Variations and Modifications

Beginners might find it difficult to practise during the initial days. They can take help of their partners or an expert yoga teacher to adjust and practise correctly. Place a rolled blanket beneath your body especially the head to support and avoid injury. To deepen the pose, roll your body while holding both hands behind the back.

Practice Supine Spinal Twist Pose to counteract and rejuvenate your body after practising Yoga Nidrasana.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Ensure to warm up your body mainly the hamstrings, core and hips. When you lift your leg behind your head, ensure that you are doing it carefully and gently, since it may cause injuries to muscles if done incorrectly. Don’t force your body at any stage during the pose. Take your own time. With regular practice, you will gain enough strength and flexibility to master this pose.

Preparatory Poses

Setu Bandhasana

Navasana

Sarvangasana

Follow Up Poses

Supine Spinal Twist Pose

Baddha Konasana

Halasana

Now, you know all the benefits and how to sleep with a yogic posture, then why to wait? Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day! Practice within your own limits and ability. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

“The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in”-

B.K.S Iyengar

How to do Dwi Pada Sirsasana & its Benefits

“Its never too late & you are never too old to start from scratch once again”

Dwi Pada Sirsasana.pngAre you ready to bring one more leg behind your head? Yes, we are talking about putting both your legs behind your head.  This pose is called as Dwi Pada Sirsasana, a complex and advanced sitting yoga pose which requires more flexibility and strength in both your leg and groin muscles.

Dwi-Two | Pada-Foot | Sirsa-Head | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as Dwee-Pada-Shirshasana, Sanskrit- द्विपाद शीर्षासन. This pose is also called as Dwi Pada Greevasan. In this pose, both feet are placed behind the head. Like Eka Pada Sirsasana, this pose too requires a great deal of patience and persistence to bring legs behind your head.  It improves your Kundalini power and provides a better body balance.

Level of Asana: Advanced Series, Ashtanga

Stretches: Legs, Hamstrings and Hips

Target areas: Hips and Groin

Benefits of Dwi Pada Sirsasana

  1. Increases stamina and strength of your body
  2. Provides nourishment to your thighs, knees, legs, palms, back, elbow and arms
  3. Helps to increase the flexibility and elasticity of the body
  4. Open up your hips and stretches your leg
  5. Increases blood flow to your body and improves the level of haemoglobin in the blood.
  6. Eliminates toxins from the body and therapeutic for diabetes patients
  7. A very good pose for controlling your nervous system
  8. Massages solar plexus, adrenal glands and increases vitality
  9. Improves digestion and reproductive system

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners suffering from sciatica or spinal problem shouldn’t practice this pose. Pregnant women should avoid practising this pose. Avoid this pose, if you are suffering from knee or hip injury. It’s always advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher.

Steps to do a perfect Dwi Pada Sirsasana

Dwi Pada Srisasana Yoga.png

  1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your legs extended in front of you in Dandasana.
  2. Bend the right knee and hold your right foot ankle with the left hand and hug the right shin in towards the chest with the help of your right hand.
  3. Ensure that the ankle and knee are in one line. Now, draw your right knee slightly out towards the right side to create room for the right shoulder to fit underneath.
  4. Move your right leg as high as possible and pull it towards the top of your shoulder. Place the right foot behind the head and rest right leg over the right shoulder.Both legs behind head.png
  5. Now, Slowly place your left leg behind the head and rest it over the left shoulder. Cross both the ankles and lock both feet behind the neck.
  6. Keep both your hands on the floor by the side of your hips and balance the body. Make sure that you are sitting straight and erect. After your body gets balanced, bring both the hands and join the palms to come to the Prayer pose.
  7. Ensure that your palms are touching the chest. Stay in this pose as long as you feel comfortable.
  8. Gently lower your body to the ground and release. Come to Dandasana to relax.
  9. Repeat this pose for 2 to 3 times if you feel comfortable.

Variations and Modifications

It’s a complex and challenging pose for beginners.  This pose demands more flexibility and strength in your legs. The focus is to get both the legs over the neck and place it on shoulders. You need to warm up your body before you attempt this pose. Hugging the shin towards the chest helps to open the hips and hamstrings over the days. You can also practice Half Happy Baby pose to gain flexibility. After you master this pose, deepen the stretch by placing the palms on the sides of hip and lifting your body up into the air.

Practice Supine Spinal Twist Pose to rejuvenate and restore your energy after practising Dwi Pada Sirsasana.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice. It’s advisable to practice this pose in the evening as your body becomes flexible after days work.

Ensure to warm up your body mainly the hamstrings, core and hips. This pose teaches us to listen to our body and you must never force your body at any point during this pose. When you lift your legs behind your head, ensure that you are doing it carefully and gently, since it may cause injuries to muscles if done incorrectly or suddenly. Check whether your leg is flexible enough to place it over the shoulder? Take your own time! With regular practice, you will gain enough strength and flexibility to master this pose.

Preparatory Poses

Hugging the shin towards the chest

Pigeon Pose

Follow Up Poses

Bridge Pose

Camel Pose

Wheel Pose

Supine Spinal Twist

Ready to challenge your body and reap the benefits of this pose! Now, you know all the benefits and how to bring your feet behind your head, then why to wait? Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day! Remember, never force your body to bring your feet behind the head. Take your own time and practice within your own limits and ability. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

“Yoga begins right where I am, not where I was yesterday or where I long to be”- Linda Sparrowe

How to do Eka Pada Sirsasana (Foot Behind Head Pose) & its Benefits

“Yoga means addition – An addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul.”- Amit Ray

Eka Pada Sirsasana

Are you ready to stretch your body and practice a fun pose to bring a smile on your face? We are talking about putting your leg behind your head.  This pose is called as Eka Pada Sirsasana. This is an advanced sitting yoga pose which required flexibility and strength in your leg and groin muscles.

Eka-One | Pada-Foot | Sirsa-Head | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as Eka-Pada-Shirshasana, Sanskrit- एकपाद शीर्षासन. In this pose, one foot is placed behind the head. Eka Pada Sirsasana requires a great deal of patience and persistence to bring your leg behind your head.

Level of Asana: Advanced Series, Ashtanga

Stretches: Leg, Hamstrings and Hips

Target areas: Hips and Groin

Benefits of Eka Pada Sirsasana

  1. This asana helps to increase the flexibility of legs
  2. Open up your hips and stretches your back muscles
  3. It massages the side parts of abdomen and tones the sexual organs
  4. Regular and extended period of practice can be therapeutic for varicose veins
  5. Stretches the hips, hamstrings and glutes

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners suffering from sciatica shouldn’t practice this pose. Pregnant women should avoid this pose. Practice with caution if you are suffering from knee, hip, back or neck problems. It’s always advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher.

Steps to do a perfect Eka Pada Sirsasana

  1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your legs extended in front of you in Dandasana.
  2. Bend the right knee and hold your right foot ankle with the left hand and hug the right shin in towards the chest with the help of your right hand.
  3. Ensure that the ankle and knee are in one line.
  4. Now, draw your right knee slightly out towards the right side to create room for the right shoulder to fit underneath.How to do Eka Pada Sirsasana.png
  5. Move your right leg as high as possible and pull it towards the top of your shoulder.
  6. Now, place the right foot behind the head and rest right leg over the right shoulder.
  7. Adjust your position and make sure that you are sitting straight and erect.
  8. Now, bring both the hands down and join the palms to come to the Prayer pose.
  9. Ensure that your palms are touching the chest.
  10. Stay in this pose as long as you feel comfortable.
  11. Now, release from the pose and come to Dandasana to relax.
  12. Repeat this pose with left leg above the shoulders.

Variations and Modifications

Beginners might find it difficult to practice this pose in the initial days.  This pose demands flexibility and strength in your legs. You need to warm up your body before you attempt this pose. Hugging the shin towards the chest helps to open the hips and hamstrings over the days. You can also practice Half Happy Baby pose to gain flexibility.

Foot over Head PoseAfter you master this pose, deepen the stretch by extending your left leg in front of your body, while your right leg is still behind the head. Inhale and while you exhale, come forward and try to touch the left knee, just like you practice Paschimottanasana.

Practice Supine Spinal Twist Pose to rejuvenate and restore your energy after practising Eka Pada Sirsasana.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Ensure to warm up your body mainly the hamstrings, core and hips. When you lift your leg behind your head, ensure that you are doing it carefully and gently. Otherwise, you may cause injuries to the muscles if done incorrectly or suddenly. Check that your leg is flexible enough to place it over the shoulder? Don’t force your body at any stage during the pose. Take your own time. With regular practice, you will gain enough strength and flexibility to master this pose. Listen to your body.

 

Preparatory Poses

Hugging the shin towards the chest

Pigeon Pose

Follow Up Poses

Bridge Pose

Camel Pose

Wheel Pose

Supine Spinal Twist

Eka Pada Sirsasana is a great way to open your hips. Now, you know all the benefits and how to do foot behind head Pose, then why to wait? Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day! Remember, never force your body to bring your foot behind the head. Take your own time and practice within your own limits and ability. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”- B.K.S Iyengar

How to do Upward Plank Pose & its Benefits

Upward Plank PoseLong day work sitting in front of a desktop or driving a long journey to reach your home. These things can actually cause slouching and pain in your spine, isn’t it? Re-balance and stretch the front of your body with regular practice of this amazing pose called Upward Plank Pose, which is also called as Purvottanasana. It is an intermediate back bending pose that helps to build strength and flexibility. This arm stretching pose comes with a lot of benefits starting from improving your inner strength to stretching your body effectively.

Purva-East | Ut-Intense | Tana-Stretch | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as poorvah-uttanah-sanah, Sanskrit- पूर्वोत्तानासन. Purvottanasana means an intense east stretch. Our ancient yogis were always practising yoga facing eastward, as the Sun rises in that direction. That’s the reason, the front side of our body is always considered as “East” side. This pose helps to provide your front body with a beautiful stretch. This asana is also called as Inclines Plank Pose, Reverse Plank Pose and Backbend Pose. Many names, isn’t it interesting?

Level of Asana: Intermediate, Vinyasa

Stretches: Wrists, arms & legs

Target areas: Front ankles, Shoulders & Throat

Benefits of Upward Plank Pose

  1. This asana helps to strengthen your arms, legs, upper backs, triceps, wrists, and glutes
  2. Stretches front of ankles, chest and top of the feet
  3. Improves balance and builds core strength
  4. Stretches and strengthens your shoulders
  5. Therapeutic for fatigue and respiratory function
  6. Releases stress, anxiety, depression and calm the mind
  7. Stretches abdominal organs and intestines
  8. Regular practice of this pose helps to increases the energy level
  9. Stimulates the thyroid glands and keeps you healthy

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practice this pose with the use of a chair or wall to support your head, if you have a neck injury. Avoid this pose, if you have a recent or current shoulder injury. It’s strictly a no for practitioners suffering from a wrist injury. It’s always advisable to practice yoga poses within your own ability and limit.

Steps to do a perfect Upward Plank PosePurvottanasana.png

  1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your legs extended in front of you and arms resting your sides in Dandasana.
  2. Bring your hands behind your hips and ensure that your fingertips are pointing towards your feet.
  3. Bend your knees, while placing your feet on the floor. Keep your hand shoulder width apart and your feet hip widths apart.
  4. Inhale, press your hands and feet down firmly and lift your hips towards the ceiling.
  5. Your chest must be lifted, and spine must be in one straight line. Ensure that your arms are straightened.
  6. Keep pressing the sole of your feet into the floor, keeping your legs glutes firm and legs straight. Ensure that your buttock is not squeezed.
  7. Slowly release your head, when you feel comfortable. Open your throat, lift your chest up and gaze towards the ceiling.
  8. Stay in this pose as long as you feel comfortable. Now, exhale and slowly lower your hips to the yoga mat to release from this pose.
  9. Sit in Dandasana and relax for few breaths. Repeat this pose for 3 to 4 times.

Variations and Modifications

Beginners might find it difficult to practice this pose in the initial days. They can use a chair for support until they gain enough flexibility and comfort in this pose. Sit at the edge of a chair and wrap your hands around the back. Now, inhale and lift your pelvis and then the legs. Stay in this posture for few breaths and then release. If you don’t have enough strength to keep your legs straight and support your bodyweight, then practice Ardha Purvottanasana. Keep patience and practice it regularly to increase flexibility and gain strength.

After you master this pose, deepen the stretch by practising one-legged Upward Plank Pose. Lift one foot off the floor and reach through the ball of your foot to touch the floor. Ensure to lift the entire leg up towards the ceiling. Now, lower your raised foot and repeat this with the other side.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Keep your shoulders above your wrist and ensure to check your alignment properly. Engage your upper body throughout the pose to lift your body. Ensure to keep your neck long and shoulders away from your ears. Extend your arms and spine.

Preparatory Poses

Dhanurasana

Setu Bandhasana

Sarvangasana

Gomukhasana

Follow Up Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Paschimottanasana

Regular practice of Purvottanasana helps to counteract forward bend poses like Paschimottanasana. Moreover, it’s a wonderful counter pose for strengthening poses like Chaturanga and Plank pose too. This pose helps to prepare you for more back bending postures.

Now, you know all the benefits and how to do Upward Plank Pose, then why to wait? Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day! More you challenge yourself and practice this pose regularly, you will be able to stretch your body effectively. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

How to do Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose) and its Benefits

Astavakrasana.png

Astavakrasana, popularly called as Eight Angle Pose is an arm balance pose with lateral twists. When you look at this pose, it seems impossible and hard to practice. It requires core and arm strength, flexibility in your hamstrings, hips and more importantly balances to practice this asana. I too thought that it’s a no for me. But, believe me, when you start practising this pose, this pose will become super easy for you. You just need patience and a yoga mat to start practising this pose.

Ashta-Eight | Vakra-Bent/Curve | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as ahsh-tah-vah-krahs-anna, Sanskrit- अष्टावक्रासन. This pose is dedicated to ancient sage Astavakra who as the spiritual guru of king Janaka. People say that when Astavakra was in his mother’s womb, his father Kagola committed many mistakes while reciting the Vedas. The unborn sage Astavakra once laughed while hearing those Vedas. His father became angry and cursed him to be born as Astavakra. He was born crooked in eight places. These crooks earned him this name as Astavakra.

Level of Asana: Advanced, Ashtanga Yoga

Stretches: Legs, arms and spine

Target areas: Wrists, Arms, and core muscles

Benefits of Eight Angle Pose

  1. This asana tones the spine and supply oxygen-rich blood flow to the spinal nerves
  2. Strengthens the abdominal muscles and improves digestion.
  3. Improves your core strength and provides balance to your body
  4. Stretches legs, arms, shoulders and builds a stable foundation for your body.
  5. Releases stress, builds confidence and concentration.
  6. This pose makes your wrists and arms strong.
  7. Therapeutic for menopause problem and menstrual disorders
  8. Learn how to be patient and surrender yourself for a better cause.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. It’s advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher, as you might end up hurting your body, if not done in a right way. Avoid this pose, if you have a recent or current injury in elbows, wrists or shoulders.

Steps to do a perfect Eight Angle Pose

  1. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Now, bend your right knee into your chest and bring the sole of your right foot to the floor. Make sure that its close to your buttock.
  3. Lift your right foot from the floor and bring your shin parallel to the ground.
  4. Place your right arm under your right knee. Bring your right knee on the right arm as high as possible. If possible, bring the knee over the right shoulder.How to do Eight Angle Pose.png
  5. Now, place both the palms on the floor on the higher side of your hips and straighten your left leg. Ensure to spread your fingers.
  6. Press your palms to lift your body which includes your left leg and foot off the floor. Remember your right leg is hugging your right arm.
  7. Bend your lifted left leg and bring the foot toward your body. Now, hook your left ankle with the right ankle.
  8. Now, bend your arms at 90-degrees to shift the weight of your torso forward and towards the floor. Move both your legs to the right so that they can be parallel to the floor.
  9. Make sure to straighten your legs as much as possible and squeeze your right arm. Now, lift your head and gaze towards your front or side. Don’t strain your neck at any moment during the posture.
  10. Your body weight will rest on your palms. Stay in this pose as you feel comfortable and then release and repeat the asana on the other side of your body.

Variations and Modifications

Beginners might find it difficult to balance in this pose. They can use a bolster or the hip of rolled blankets to rest the bottom of their hips and outer legs.  Regular practice will surely increase the flexibility and in the process, you will learn to balance your body.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

If you can hold Chaturanga Dandasana for 30-45 seconds, then you have a fair chance to practice this asana easily as you have gained the required arm strength to practice this pose. Before jumping into this pose, ensure to warm up your body with preparatory poses to activate your muscles. Don’t be in a hurry. If you are not been able to perform this pose for the first time, then practice Chaturanga Dandasana and other preparatory poses for few days to improve arm balance and strength. Take the challenge and practice regularly.

Preparatory Poses

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Kurmasana (Turtle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana

Navasana (Boat Pose)

Follow Up Poses

Bhujapidasana (Shoulder-Pressing Pose)

Now, you know all the benefits and how to do Astavakrasana, then why to wait. Enjoy your Yoga practice and have an awesome day! More you challenge yourself and practice regularly, you will get better and better day by day. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

Yoga Poses for Strength Building

Build Your Strength with Yoga Poses

Build your strength with yoga poses

When I started practising yoga poses, I was quite confused by the fact that will I be able to gain enough strength to even practice Beginner Yoga poses. I was neither flexible nor had enough strength to practice Yoga asanas. But, believe me, when I started practising Yoga poses regularly with patience, it paid off. You need not require having flexibility and strength to practice yoga. When you start practising yoga, in the process you gain strength and become flexible enough to practice any kind of yoga poses. Today, we are talking about 7 best yoga poses which would help you to build strength.

  1. Naukasana (Boat Pose)

Naukasana.png

Naukasana which is also known as Navasana is a strength building yoga pose. This pose helps to build core muscles of your body. Regular practice of this pose helps to tone your abdominal muscles and strengthen the lower back. In this pose, you need to sit on your buttock with your legs stretched in front of your body. The raised legs make a 45-degree angle with the ground. This pose provides strength and balance in your lives. To know more click here: Naukasana

  1. Kakasana (Crow Pose)

Kakasana.png

Kakasana is an arm balancing pose which requires strength in your arms and shoulders to perform this asana. It is one of the best balancing poses and helps to build strength in your arms and shoulders. When you regularly practice this pose, it helps to strengthen your core muscles and wrists. In this pose, your body weight rests on your arms and wrists. To know more click here: Kakasana

  1. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

    How to do chair pose
    Photo Credit: Paul Miller

Utkatasana is a standing pose which allows you to sit on an imaginary chair. This might seem like an easy pose, but it’s more challenging and need your patience to master this pose. This pose strengthens your core muscles, thighs and tones the buttocks. Bend your torso slightly forward and shift your weight to the heels. Regular practice of this pose helps to improve the balance of your body and reduce those extra kilos from buttock area. To know more click here: Utkatasana

  1. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Trikonasana.png

Trikonasana is a standing body strengthening pose which helps to tone your legs and strengthen your knees, ankles, chest and arms. This pose is a great tool to improve your metabolism and stamina of body. In this pose, legs are stretched one leg apart. Your right foot moved at 90 degrees and left foot toes in about 45 degrees. Your right arm touches the ground and the left arm goes up. This pose also strengthens your hips, hamstrings, calves and spine. On the top, it’s a good posture to shed extra kilos. To know more click here: Trikonasana

  1. Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)

Plank Pose.png

Plank Pose is an arm balancing asana that strengthens your arms and shoulders. This pose targets your core muscles mainly the abdominal muscles. It helps to improve your posture by strengthening the muscles of your spine. You just need to ensure that your body must be in a straight line from the head to heels. Regular practice of this pose builds your core strength and stamina. To know more click here: Plank Pose

  1. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog Pose.png

Downward Facing Dog pose is one of the most popular yoga poses often done during the yoga class. This is a standing inversion pose that builds strength and stretches your whole body. When you enter into the full pose, it looks like an inverted “V” shape. It lengthens your spine, strengthens the core muscles and increases your lung capacity. When you practice this pose regularly, it brings strength throughout the body and improves your blood flow. To know more click here: Downward Facing Dog Pose

  1. Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose.png

Dolphin pose is one of the best preparatory Pose for Headstand to develop arm and core strength. Start in downward dog pose and then lower your forearms as you continue to shift your hips up and back. Point your tailbone up to the sky, relax your head and keep your shoulders away from the ears. As you press your chest toward the thighs, spread your hands wide or alternatively, grip your hands together while staying on the forearms. Continue this with 7-10 repetition while holding your breath for few seconds during the pose. It stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and strengthens your core muscles. This pose helps to improve digestion and prepare you to practice more advanced Yoga poses.

Regular practice of yoga poses will improve the flexibility and strength of your body. When you know the benefits of these beautiful yoga poses, why to wait? Practice regularly and prepare yourself for advanced poses.

How to do Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose or Splits) and its Benefits

Hanumanasana, popularly called as Splits is an intermediate yoga pose which is all about courage and fearlessness. This pose symbolizes the power of devotion and faith, which we need to bring during the practice. Here, you shouldn’t only stretch your legs, but also bring dedication and devotion to your practice. Splits teaches us to overcome obstacles and do what seems impossible to us at first instance. When I started the practice, it was looking impossible for me. But, today I can practice this beautiful asana with ease.

Hanuman-Monkey | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as hah-NU-mahn-AHS-anna, Sanskrit- हनुमानासन. Hanumanasana is also known as Monkey Pose. Lord Hanuman is a Hindu God who looks like Monkey. In Ramayana, Hanuman (Bajrang Bali) made a giant leap from Southern India to the island of Sri Lanka to rescue Princess Sita.  He is courageous, mischief, bold, and agile. Hanuman reminds us that there is always a hero within each and every one of us.

Level of Asana: Intermediate, Vinyasa Yoga

Stretches: Groin, thighs and Hamstrings

Target areas: Hips, Legs and Abdomen

Benefits of Monkey Pose

  1. This asana stretches and strengthens the thigh muscles, groin region and hamstrings.
  2. Stretches the back muscles and makes them strong.
  3. Releases stress, tension and calm your mind.
  4. Stretches and balances the hip flexors. Prevents lower back pain.
  5. Tones the waist muscles, brings flexibility to hips with regular practice.
  6. Stimulates the abdominal and reproductive organs of your body. Improves the digestive function.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. It’s advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher, as you might end up hurting your body, if not done in a right way. Avoid this pose, if you have a recent or current injury in the groin area or hamstring. Practitioners with hip, low back, knee or foot pain may bring modifications to their practice.

Steps to do a perfect Monkey Pose

  1. Start by kneeling on the floor with knees slightly apart.
  2. Now, move your right foot forward and raise the inner sole. Your outer heel must touch the floor.
  3. Now, inhale gently and as you exhale, bend your torso forward and touch the floor with your fingertips.
  4. Move your left knee backward until the knee and front of the foot touch the floor. Simultaneously, slide your right leg forward till it touches the floor completely.Monkey Pose (Splits).png
  5. Ensure that to come into a Split position, you should slide your left foot backwards and front foot (right foot) forward.
  6. Continue to slide the toes of your right foot forward. Ensure that the toes are pointing skywards. Simultaneously, slide your left foot backwards, ensuring that the toes are touching the floor.
  7. Now, raise your arms above your head and join the palms together. Stretch your arms and arch your back until you feel comfortable.
  8. Breathe gently and stay in this position as long as you feel comfortable and ease.
  9. Now, to get released from this pose, shift your body weight on the hands. Press your hands firmly on the floor and slowly slide your left and right foot back until you reach the original position.
  10. Relax for few breaths and then repeat the same procedure with your left leg forward and right leg behind your body.

Variations and Modifications

Splits is not a basic pose, it takes intense dedicated practice to perform Splits. Practitioners who are new to this asana should use a blanket or yoga block under their ankles and knees to make it more comfortable and avoid discomfort and pain. To increase the length of the torso, press your back foot into the floor. When you put pressure on your back foot, your shoulder blades lift and now set them firmly on your back.

If your hamstrings and hips are tight, then place one or two blocks on both sides of your front thigh and place your hands on the block. This will provide you more support and allow you to intense your stretch.

You can deepen this pose, after gaining strength and flexibility. To enter into the advanced pose and increase the stretch, once you split both your legs, stretch your arms up and lean forward. Bend over your front leg and touch your feet. Hold this pose for few breaths, as long as you feel comfortable. Now, inhale and come back to the original position.

Tips

It is an intense leg stretching exercise, thus your leg needs to be more flexible and stretching. Practise basic yoga poses and hip opening poses before you attempt to practise splits.

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Keep the following points in mind while practising this pose to gain maximum benefits for your mind, body and soul.

  1. When you begin to practice this pose, ensure that your focus should be on the front leg and how tight you feel.
  2. There will be a tendency to stretch your hamstrings as much as you can to get the flexibility. But, you should keep in mind that both your legs should be flexible enough to perform this asana.
  3. Learn to balance both your legs while you split them to touch the floor.
  4. It really doesn’t matter whether your pelvis touches the floor or not, what really matters is how much you can protect your lower back and push as much as you can go.
  5. Never force your body to split, stop when your body asks you to. Otherwise, you may end up with hurting yourself.
  6. Keep breathing throughout the practice to keep yourself engaged and motivated.

You will fail to see yourself in that 180 degrees angle many times during the practice. But, don’t afraid to fail. With every failure, you will learn patience, dedication and a new way to learn and win. Regular practice of this pose will provide you with enough strength and hip flexibility. Remember one thing, never force yourself during splits, as it can harm you. Listen to your body and practise as per your capability.

Preparatory Poses

Baddha Konasana

Virasana

Uttanasana

Supta Virasana

Janu Sirsasana

Follow Up Poses

Paschimottanasana

Upavistha Konasana

Natarajasana

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your Split practice and have an awesome day! More you devote yourself to the practice, your Split practise will get better and better. Just remember lord Hanuman and his devotion towards the master lord Rama. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

How to do Natarajasana (King Dancer Pose) & its Benefits

A powerful balancing pose that strengthens your legs and engages shoulders, chest and abdomen with a full body stretch. Natarajasana is used in Indian classical dances.

Nata-Dance | Raja-King | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as Nut-ah-raj-AHS-anna, Sanskrit- नटराजासन. Natarajasana is also known as Lord of the Dance Pose. Nataraja is another name of Lord Shiva, a dancing avatar. In this avatar, he depicts his art, and love for dance and music. When you do this asana fully and properly, it resembles one of the dancing poses of Lord Shiva.

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Level of Asana: Intermediate with standing backbend (Balancing Pose)

Benefits of King Dancer Pose

  1. This asana helps to improve your digestion and build full body strength.
  2. Strengthens thigh, calf muscles, knees, ankle, hips and spine.
  3. Develops concentration and grace in everyday life.
  4. Opens up your shoulders, chest and hip.
  5. Releases stress, anxiety and calm your mind.
  6. Improves posture and increases the balance of your body.
  7. Stretches shoulders, chest and abdomen.
  8. Increases metabolism and helps to reduce weight.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who are suffering from low blood pressure, insomnia, dizziness or migraines should not practice this pose. It’s advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of a yoga teacher. Avoid this pose, if you have a recent or current ankle or lower back injury.

Steps to do a perfect King Dancer PoseLord of the Dance Pose.JPG

  1. Begin this pose by standing in Tadasana or Mountain Pose with your arms at your sides and feet together.
  2. While shifting your body weight onto your left foot, bend your right knee and bring your right heel toward your right hip.
  3. Bring your right hand down and clasp with your right foot’s inner ankle.
  4. Beginners can wrap a yoga strap around the top of their right foot and then bend their knee to enter into the pose. They can hold onto the strap with their right hand.
  5. Now, draw your knees together.
  6. Bring your left arm overhead and pointing the fingertips toward the sky/ceiling and facing the palm towards the right.
  7. Now, ensure to look at a fixed point in front of you to concentrate and maintain balance.
  8. Ensure that your left knee and toes are facing forward and straight.
  9. When you feel comfortable and flexible, deepen this pose by pressing your right foot away from your body while leaning your torso slightly forward simultaneously.
  10. Continue to reach your left hand’s fingertips up towards the sky/ceiling.
  11. Try to raise your right foot as high as possible and press your tailbone toward the floor.
  12. Stay in this pose as long as you feel comfortable and balanced.
  13. Now, to release, slowly and gently return to your starting position i.e. Tadasana. Relax for few breaths and repeat the same procedure with the opposite side.

Variation

There are two kinds of variation for practising this pose. The advanced pose requires you to hold the raised foot with both hands overhead. The second one requires holding the lifted leg with one hand and the other hand raised forward.Natarajasana.JPG

Beginners might find it difficult to hold on the ankle of the raised leg as shown in the figure. If you face the same challenge, then use a strap. Wrap a yoga strap around the top of your foot and then bend your knee and enter into the pose. Hold onto both ends of the strap with your same side while you stay in this pose. Beginners who are new to this pose should practise standing thigh stretch to gain strength and flexibility. You can also rest your free hand on a wall, chair or any object which is stable to maintain balance.

You can deepen this pose, after gaining strength and flexibility. To enter into the advanced pose, hold your outer ankle with your opposite hand. As shown in the figure, if your left ankle is raised, reach your right hand behind your body and hold onto your left foot’s outer ankle. Now, you can raise your opposite arm forward and higher up.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Keep the following points in mind while practising this pose to gain maximum benefits for your mind, body and soul.

  1. While you enter into this pose fully, keep your gaze fixed on a fixed point in front of you to increase concentration and balance of your body.
  2. Ensure that your knee and the toes of your standing leg are facing forward and straight.
  3. Firm the muscles of your standing leg and resist the calf muscles against the shin. This movement will help to stabilize your lower leg.
  4. Your bent knee shouldn’t splay open to the sides. The neck should be relaxed, reach forward through the crown of your head.
  5. Ensure to keep your movement slow, steady and smooth. Don’t force or push any movement in this pose. This will only reach you in an injured state.
  6. The most important part is to keep breathing throughout the pose and never hold your breath.

You will fall many times during this pose. But, don’t afraid to fall. With every fall and failure, you will learn patience, calmness and a new way to learn and win. Regular practice of this pose will provide you strength to fight challenges in life and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

How to do Extended Side Angle Pose & its Benefits

Every pregnant lady wants to make their childbirth pain-free and smoother.  Regular practice of yoga plays a crucial role to achieve that objective. Today, we are talking about a yoga pose which helps to reduce swelling in the feet of pregnant women in their last trimester of pregnancy and also helps in childbirth. This pose is called as Uthhita Parsvakonasana.

Utthita – Extended | Parsva – Side | Kona – Angle | Asana – Pose

This asana is pronounced as oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna, Sanskrit- उत्थित पार्श्वकोणासन. This is a beginner pose and helps to build strength throughout the body. It prepares your body for the deeper groin and leg stretches. Remember to practise this asana at the beginning or middle of the standing yoga sequences.

Benefits of Extended Side Angle Pose

  • This pose helps to increase the stamina of body
  • Helps to improve blood circulation, stimulates and tones the abdominal muscles
  • Stretches chest, groins, waist, spine, lungs, hamstrings and shoulders
  • Strengthens the ankles, knees, and legs
  • Relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back
  • Helpful during pregnancy and childbirth
  • Therapeutic for insomnia, constipation, infertility, sciatica, lower backache and menstrual discomforts

Precautions & Contradictions

Discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns. Practitioners suffering from headaches, insomnia or high or low blood pressure should avoid this pose.   Those who are suffering from a neck problem, shouldn’t turn their head upward, rather they should face either straight or down.

Steps to do a perfect Extended Side Angle Pose

  • Stand straight facing the long side of your mat. Your feet must be legs distance apart. Ensure that your heels are in line with each other.
  • Keep your left foot toes at 45-degree angle and turn right foot toes towards the short edge of the mat.
  • Now, inhale and while you exhale, bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor.

    Extended Side Angle Pose.JPG
    Photo Credit: Yoga International
  • Keep your right knee directly over your heel. Turn your left toes slightly.
  • Ensure to align the arch of your left foot with the heel of your right foot. The back leg should be straight.
  • Inhale and strengthen your lower belly, so that it will get strengthened and pulled in.
  • Now, exhale and stretch your body over the right leg and bring your right arm down.
  • Place your right hand on the floor, outside the right foot. Beginners can place the right-hand elbow on the right thigh.
  • Now, extend your left arm up towards the ceiling and then extend it over the top of your head ensuring your arm is placed just above the left ear.
  • Keep your chest, hips, and legs in a straight line.
  • Now, press the outside of the left foot firmly on the floor, and move the right side of your buttock towards your body.
  • There will be a single extension from back heel to the extended arm.
  • Turn your head towards the left arm, rotate your chest and abdomen towards the ceiling.
  • Do not put dead weight on the bent It may strain your knee joint.
  • Now, expand the thoracic chest and hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable.
  • To release, press firmly through your back foot and slowly come to the standing pose as you exhale. Ensure to extend your arm at shoulder height and turn your feet and body so that they face the same direction.
  • Relax for a few breaths and repeat the pose on the other side (left).

Variations

This is a great pose to build strength while preparing yourself for a deeper stretch. But, beginners might find it difficult to stay in correct alignment and balance. Including few variations and modifications can make their practise easier.

Beginners might find it difficult to touch their front fingertips on the ground. In this case, either you can bring your forearm to your front thigh or rest your hand on a yoga block. If its difficult to keep your back heel on the floor, then practice with your back heel against a wall. Here, as you bend your front knee during the pose, imagine that you are pressing the wall away from you with your back heel.

If you feel that your hips are too tight, then shorten your stance and straighten your front leg to feel comfortable. But, if your hips are flexible, then ensure that your front shin stays vertical. Widen your stance as per requirement to ensure that your knee does not move forward past your ankle.

Tips

Ensure to keep your stomach empty before you practice this pose. Have your meals at least four to five hours before you practice this pose so that you can expand your body fully during the practice. It is important to practice this asana with correct alignment to gain benefits. Few tips can be very handy while practising this pose.

Ensure to keep the outer edge of your back foot pressing firmly into the mat. Keep your back baby toe on the mat. Correct your foot and leg placement, keep your front knee aligned with your front heel. Do not move your knee inward, this can bring injury to your knee joint.

The key to this beautiful asana is in the breathing. You must use the breathing to open up your chest and deepen your inhalations as you relax while exhaling. The regular practice of this asana builds your stamina and help you fight any kind of pain and disease.

Always remember that Yoga is a journey and not a destination. You should always enjoy the journey while being patient and dedicated. Practice this pose slowly, maintain the correct alignment and balance and over the time you will be blessed with a disease-free body. You just need a yoga mat and lots of willing power to start this asana!

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

 

Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose

How to do Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose & its Benefits

A standing Pose that can stretch your legs, challenge your concentration power, patience and boost your balance! We are talking about such a deep stretch pose today. This asana is known as Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, which stretches your hamstrings and strengthens your ankles and leg.

Utthita – Extended | Hasta – Hand | Pada – Foot | Angusta – Big Toe | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as oo-TEE-tah HAHS-tuh pahd-ahng-goosh-TAHS-uh-nah, Sanskrit- उत्थित हस्त पादांगुष्ठासन. Practice warm-up exercises of the whole body before you attempt this pose. This pose involves deep stretch and if you have tight hamstrings then this pose may seem difficult. But, with regular practice and patience, you can master this pose.

Benefits of Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose

  • This pose helps to improve your sense of balance, concentration and focus
  • Opens up the hips, arms, and shoulders and stretches the hamstrings
  • Strengthens legs and ankles and makes them strong
  • Releases stress, anxiety, and calms your mind

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who have recent or current low back injury or ankle problem should avoid this pose. It is always advisable to attempt this pose under the guidance of an experienced Yoga teacher.

Steps to do a perfect Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose

  • Begin in standing position with your feet together and arms at your sides.Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose.JPG
  • Inhale deeply and while you exhale, shift your weight to your left foot and lift your right knee up.
  • Now, bring your right hand to the inside of your leg to touch the big toe.
  • Fold your thumb and hold your big toe with your thumb and middle finger.
  • Ensure that your spine is straight and the upper thigh of the standing leg pressing back.
  • With the continuous inhalation extend your right leg out to the front and straighten as much as possible. Hold there for few breaths.
  • Keep your shoulders back, chest wide open, both hips on the same line and spine straight.
  • Hold there for few breaths, as long as you feel comfortable.
  • To release, draw back your right knee back to your chest and slowly lower your foot to the ground.
  • Relax and repeat the same procedure on the left-hand side.

Variation

Beginners might find it difficult to touch the big toe in initial days. If you are not able to touch the toes of your raised leg, then practice standing knee hug until you gain enough flexibility to practice the full pose. Moreover, you can also use a yoga strap around the ball of your foot to straighten your lifted leg. Hold the strap in that same side hand and straighten your leg to stay in the full pose.

As you gain flexibility and strength in this pose, variations can be practised. You can press the raised foot against the wall or can rest it along the top edge of a chair or table.

For a deeper stretch, when you feel balanced, inhale and bring your extended leg out to the side.

Tips

Ensure to keep your stomach empty before you practice this pose. Have your meals at least four to five hours before you practice this pose so that you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Ensure to keep your spine straight throughout the pose. Don’t force your body to master this pose. Instead, use a strap to bring necessary adjustments.

Always remember that Yoga is a journey and not a destination. You should always enjoy the journey while being patient and dedicated. This asana involves a mental and physical challenge. You just need a yoga mat and lots of willing power to start this asana!

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

 

Janu Sirsasana

How to do Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose) & its Benefits

Are you suffering from depression, stress or anxiety in life? If yes, then this is the perfect pose for you. Janu Sirsasana is a seated deep forward bend pose in primary series of Ashtanga Yoga that helps to relax your mind and calm your brain. In this pose, your head touches the knee in full pose. Janu Sirsasana is also known as Head to Knee pose. But, it has nothing to do with Sirsasana or Headstand. (Featured Photo Credit: Kreg Weiss)

Janu – Knee | Sirsa – Head | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as JAH-new shear-SHAHS-anna, Sanskrit- जानु शीर्षासन. Regular practice will bring necessary flexibility to your body to master this pose. This asana can bring a deep stretch to your hamstring muscles and groins if your practice it correctly. This is a challenging pose especially for men to touch their head to knee and touch their foot, but at the same time, it also teaches you to be patient and dedicated.

Benefits of Head to Knee Pose

  • This pose helps to release stress, depression, and calm your mind
  • Regular practice of this pose helps to relieve a headache, fatigue, and anxiety
  • Stimulates and massages the kidneys and liver
  • Increases flexibility of hamstring muscles, arms, back, thighs, and shoulders
  • Therapeutic for insomnia and high blood pressure
  • Strengthens your stomach organs and improves digestion
  • Improves the function of reproductive organs and relieves menstrual discomforts

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who are suffering from asthma, spondylosis, heart disease, lumbar disc herniation or diarrhea should avoid this pose. Practice this pose under the guidance of an experienced Yoga teacher if you are suffering from serious back or knee injury.

Steps to do a perfect Head to Knee Pose

Janu Sirsasana
Photo Credit: Get Muscularity

  • Start this pose by sitting on the floor with your spine erect.
  • Stretch your right leg in front of you and bend your left leg.
  • Ensure to place your sole of left leg on the inside of your right thigh.
  • Inhale and lift both your hands. Now exhale, bend forward and bring your head to right knee.
  • Hold the toe of your right leg firmly with both your hands and gaze towards the ceiling.
  • Stay in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable and breathe gently.
  • With each inhalation, lengthen the front torso and with each exhalation bend further.
  • To release the pose, inhale, lift your torso and raise your both hands.
  • Now exhale, extend your left leg and bring your arms down to the sides.
  • Relax and repeat the same procedure while stretching your left leg.

Variation

Beginners who have tight hamstrings can place rolled blanket beneath the knee of their extended leg to feel more comfortable. Those who cannot touch their foot or toe of their extended leg can use a strap. You can wrap the strap around the sole of your foot and hold to bend forward more easily.

Those who want to deepen the pose, can place a block at the sole of their foot and clasp their hands to deepen the stretch.

Tips

You must ensure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asanas so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Make sure that you are folding from your hips and not from the waist. If you cannot touch your head to the knee in the beginning, then it’s absolutely alright. Ensure that the front of your torso stays long during the pose.

Never force your body, to master this pose. Always remember that Yoga is a journey and not a destination. You should always enjoy the journey while being patient and dedicated.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

Yoga asanas for a better mental health_Rakesh Yoga

Yoga Asanas to Improve Your Mental Health

In this fast pacing world, stress, anxiety and depression have become a daily part of our lives. It doesn’t matter whether we are owning a Multi-billion company or living in a beautiful city, we are stressed and tensed. Depression and suicides cases are rising at an alarming rate, which has now become a global health concern. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 30 crore people are now living with depression from which 5.6 crore Indians are suffering from depression and more than 3 crore Indians are suffering from anxiety disorders. A recent study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry based on a survey of more than 700 randomly selected students found that more than 50% were suffering from either depression or anxiety disorders. Mental health has become more important than the physical health.

The reasons for depression, anxiety and stress are endless. To name few, the pressure of study results from parents, job stress, sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and relationship problems.

Yoga asanas for Mental Health.jpeg
Yoga for Mental Health

Normally, anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, including anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is distressing that students felt like committing suicide during their study, just because of pressure from parents, relatives and competitive world.

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When we suffer from depression or stress, a large majority of us are either reluctant or unable to seek medical help to cure this biggest problem of our life. Here, we must note that the diseases like Blood pressure, Diabetes, etc. are mainly happening due to the rising level of stress and lifestyle problems. Those suffering from depression are also likely to pick up unhealthy habits such as tobacco, smoking and alcohol consumption, which is again ruining their health.

Symptoms of Depression, anxiety and stress

  • Angry and irritation over small things
  • Gets uncontrolled, thoughts of past traumatic experiences
  • Sleepless nights and frequent palpitations
  • Gets panicked, feeling uneasiness and scared
  • Wake up with frequent nightmares
  • Repeatedly washing your hands
  • You may notice sweaty hands and feet

This happens with many people when you face depression, stress or anxiety. But, you need to realize that it’s not going to stay permanently in your life. Positivity in life can help to overcome these situations. In this condition, Yoga plays an important role to calm down the level of stress, anxiety and brings relaxation. Simple meditation and pranayama can surprisingly remove all your worries and keep you calm and composed.

How Can Yoga help you?

Regular practice of Yoga poses helps to

  • Improve blood flow and increase levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells in the body
  • Oxygen to reach the body cells and enhances their function
  • Increase your endurance, lower your resting heart rate, and thin your blood
  • Decrease your overall risk of heart attack and stroke

Yoga not only help you improve your health in terms of physical benefits, it also helps to nurture your attitude towards your body which helps to bring the spiritual and mental equilibrium. Yoga combines physical poses along with the meditation and controlled breathing. It helps to examine and access your inner strength which helps you to face the life challenges, frustrations, anger, and most importantly fears of daily life.

Regular practice of Yoga not only act as an effective stress buster but also help to ease the above symptoms of depression and anxiety level. It helps to transfer your focus and attention to your body and health and releases physical tension and anxiety.

Now, we know all the benefits of practising Yoga, lets us find out some of the best yoga poses that help to improve your mental health and keep you stress-free. You just a need a Yoga mat and lots of willing power to start the practice.

  1. Lotus Pose (Padmasana) 

    How to do Lotus Pose_Rakesh Yoga.JPG
    Lotus Pose

A powerful spiritual and meditative pose which channels your life force, relaxes the mind and calms the brain. The regular practice of this pose will keep you rooted and feel more energetic. This pose symbolizes purity, beauty, majesty, grace, wealth, richness, knowledge, serenity, fertility, enlightenment, spirituality and cosmic renewal. Moreover, it also helps to relieve stress, relaxes the mind and calms your brain. Know more

  1. Headstand Pose (Sirsasana)

    How to do Headstand_Rakesh Yoga.JPG
    Headstand

The king of all asanas and standing on your head is nothing but Headstand or Sirsasana which has multiple benefits starting from detoxification to improving concentration. This inverted position of headstand flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the face, creating a glowing effect on the skin. Since the adrenal glands are flushed and detoxified, you create positive thoughts. Depression, stress, and anxiety will reduce as you get upside down and smile will come to your face. This pose develops strong core muscles and eliminates chances of strokes. Know more

  1. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 

    How to do Downward Facing Dog Pose.JPG
    Downward Facing Dog Pose

One of the most basic and most recognized yoga poses around and must be learned to pose for the beginners called Downward Facing Dog Pose can provide you with multiple health benefits starting with blood flow to the brain, strengthening each one of your muscles to a pose which keeps you away from stress. This pose rejuvenates and energizes your entire body. Moreover, it calms your mind and provides relief from a headache, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. The blood flow to the brain due to this posture calms the nervous system, improves memory and concentration, and releases stress. Know more

  1. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) 

    How to do Bridge Pose.JPG
    Bridge Pose

Long working hours or extended time of inactivity induces back pain which starts from the neck and then spreads to other parts of your body. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) helps to remove that discomfort in your back muscles by strengthening it and provides relief instantly. This pose helps you to keep your spine and brain healthy, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Know more

  1. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

    How to do a Fish Pose.JPG
    Fish Pose

A back-bending sleeping pose that opens the chest, throat, abdomen and helps to cure thyroid disorders. Regular practising of this pose can be a great way to regain balance and flexibility of your neck and spine. This pose is usually carried out as the counter-pose to Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) because it neutralizes pressure on your neck and spine. Regular practice can energize your body and remove anxiety and stress level. Know more

  1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

    How to do a Child's Pose.JPG
    Child’s Pose

A resting pose which focuses on your thighs and helps to relieve back pain. The regular practice of this pose with full gravitational pull can bring physical, mental and emotional balance in your life. This pose helps to relax the muscles of your body and promotes blood circulation throughout your body. This asana is normally practised when you need to be relaxed during the yoga session. Know more

  1. Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

    How to do Seated Forward Bend Pose.JPG
    Seated Forward Bend Pose

A sitting pose which helps to calm your mind and relieve stress. This pose is generally practised later in a sequence when the body gets warmed. Regular practice of this asana gives your entire body a good stretch and is effective for diabetes and high blood pressure. Moreover, it improves your appetite and helps in digestion. Know more

  1. Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)

    How to do Standing Forward Bend Pose
    Standing Forward Bend Pose

An intense forward stretch pose which provides your entire back muscles with a good stretch and brings flexibility and strength to your back. This asana rejuvenates your body and improves oxygen-rich blood flow to your brain since your head is below your heart when you enter fully into this pose. Regular practice of this pose helps to relieve anxiety, stress and calms your mind. Know more

  1. Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani)

    How to do the Legs Up the Wall Pose.jpg
    Legs Up the Wall Pose

A mild and rejuvenated inversion Pose designed to give your body a full relaxation. It also has anti-ageing effects on your body starting from reducing wrinkles to keeping your old age at distance. This pose helps to improve the circulation of blood to every part of your body and thus cure health disorders. This pose helps to calm your mind, nervous system and provides better relaxation. If you are feeling stressed and tired after day-long work at the office, then this is the right pose for you to get relaxed. Know more

  1. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

    Corpse Pose.jpg
    Photo Credit: Yoga.com

The easiest pose in yoga sequence, yet the hardest one. Because you need to relax your body and mind and need to restrain yourself from falling asleep while practising. It promotes rest and thus relaxation. Concentration and deeper breaths are what you need in this asana practice. This asana helps to improve your concentration, memory, energy level and releases stress, anxiety, fatigue and tiredness. Moreover, it relaxes your whole-body muscles, calms your mind and improves mental health. It increases energy level, rejuvenates your body and helps to become aware of your own body. Know more

In addition to the regular practice of yoga, below techniques can also be effectively used to reduce the level of stress and anxiety disorders.

  1. Practice Pranayama like Bhramri, Sheetali and Anulom-Vilom regularly
  2. Meditation is a great way to keep yourself calm and relaxed.
  3. Pray to God and keep the faith. Smile always no matter what situation you face in your life!
  4. Think and act – What can I do for others that will change his/her life in a small or great way
  5. Surround yourself with the company of positive people, peace and positivity

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

Storms don’t last forever

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through the greatness of mind.”- Aristotle

Chaturanga Dandasana

How to Do Chaturanga Dandasana the Right Way

Chaturanga to build your core stamina

Who doesn’t want to build muscles and tone their arms and core? You must have done Push-ups or Plank Pose in the Gym to achieve this objective. But how about bringing some variations into this pose. We are talking about Chaturanga Dandasana. In this asana, your straight body becomes parallel to the ground, supported by your palms and toes, while your elbows placing at a right angle.

Chatur-Four | Anga- Limbs | Danda-Staff | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as chaht-tour-ANG-ah don-DAHS-anna, Sanskrit- चतुरंग दंडासन. Chaturanga Dandasana is also known as Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Low Plank. In Vinyasa yoga styles, this asana is a part of the Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar A and B. (Featured Photo Credit: Joshna Ramakrishnan)

Benefits of Four-Limbed Staff Pose

  • Increase stamina, makes your body more flexible and improves your posture.
  • Strengthens and tones the arms, leg muscles, wrists, and lower back.
  • The core stability of your body gets improved.
  • Builds muscles in your back, arms and shoulders.
  • Prepares your body for arm balances and inversions.
  • Tones your abdominal muscles and builds strength.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who are suffering from Carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist or shoulder injury, and lower back injury should not practice this pose. Women should avoid this pose during pregnancy.

Steps to do a perfect Four-Limbed Staff Pose

  • First, start from the Plank pose while Keeping your arms fully extended and spine completely erect. Palms are resting on your yoga mat.
  • Lift your body through the chest and keep your shoulders in line with your elbows. Ensure not to let your chest drop towards the floor.
  • Engage your leg and abdominal muscles. Now, exhale and bend your elbows while keeping down your lower body towards the ground but not touching it, few inches away from the ground.

    How to do Chaturanga
    Photo Credit: Radiance Yoga
  • Keep your body parallel to the ground and ensure to maintain your hips straight. Turn your legs inward.
  • Keep wide space between your shoulder blades. Your elbows need not be spread outwards but rather be pushed back downwards towards the heel. The tips of your elbows must slightly touch the sides of your ribs as you lower yourself to maintain the 90-degree angle.
  • Ensure that your neck is aligned straight with the rest of body and press your palm fingers firmly to the ground.
  • Stay in this position for around 30 to 60 seconds and then exhale and rest gently on the floor.
  • Repeat this procedure for 3-4 times.
  • From this asana, you can move into the Plank Pose or Downward Facing Dog pose.

Variation

Chaturanga Dandasana is an excellent asana to improve your core stability, but it takes time to gain that strength to hold the pose for more than two to three breaths. Remember, yoga is just a journey and you should not force your body to learn it fast and quickly. You might end up injuring your body itself.

Practitioners who are beginners and have not build up enough strength to fully support their body can practise Half Chaturanga where they need to touch their knee on the mat rather than keeping it parallel to the ground. You can also practise Ashtanga Namaskar until you have built up enough strength to practice Half Chaturanga.

How to do Half Chaturanga
Photo Credit: Yoga.com

Advanced practitioners can bring variations into this asana to experience more challenge. While you are in Chaturanga, keep one foot on the floor and raise the other leg parallel to the floor.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

The Four-Limbed Staff Pose is particularly dedicated to the primary support of your body which is called as a spine. Though this pose looks like a fitness based Push-up, there are a variety of differences between the two. You need to practise this pose with correct alignment, patience and dedication. Keep some useful tips in your mind while you practise this asana to enjoy an injury-free journey to build your strength and core stamina.

  • Beginners should start practising this pose under the guidance of a yoga expert to avoid injury and better their alignment.
  • Ensure to create a perfect 90-degree angle with your upper arm and forearm.
  • Do not let the shoulders drop below the height of your elbows. Keep it on the line or above.
  • Do not sag or drop your chest towards the floor.
  • This pose requires your patience and willingness. Never put your muscular force to stay in this pose for a long time. Go with the flow and focus on the present moment.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

 

Yoga poses to boost your immune system

Yoga Poses to Boost Your Immune System

Have you experienced cold and the increased chance of getting sick when the season changes? It happens with many people. Frequent attacks of common cold and fever keep people far away from the active lifestyle. When the immune levels are down, you create a weak defence mechanism and your resistance to the virus becomes weak. It becomes difficult for your body to keep the pathogens at distance and you are sneezing and coughing throughout the day.

Sleeping in bed all day and away from the active lifestyle is frustrating and agitating. It can also spread to you when you encounter those who are already ill. Though you cannot prevent these situations totally, you can certainly work your way to strengthen your immune system to defend. People use antibiotics and other medicines to recover from the disease, but those medicines certainly not help to improve your immune system.

What is an Immune system?

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend your body against attacks by foreign elements like germs, bacteria and viruses. It plays an important role in keeping your body healthy and prevents infections. The immune system recognises and then responds to the enemy elements in the body through a systematic communication network. It has an amazing and elaborate system to destroy all the invading microbes and infected cells. But, sometimes the immune system doesn’t respond effectively due to bad eating habits, weaker defence mechanism, stress and an inactive lifestyle.

Yoga plays an important role to strengthen your immune system. It is an effective and time-tested natural immune booster. Yoga helps to strengthen your body while relaxes your mind and improves your metabolism.

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Let’s find out some of the useful yoga poses which can help to boost your immune system so that you can fight cold and flu effectively. Regular practice of yoga poses help to keep the diseases at distance. You just need a yoga mat and willing power to start the practice.

  1. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

How to do triangle pose
Photo Credit: Yoga International

Trikonasana is a standing pose that helps to tone the legs, reduces stress and increases mental and physical equilibrium. This pose helps to release stress, depression, and aids to improve digestion. It provides stamina, energy, balance and develops focus. This help to improve your metabolism and immune system of the body. Know more

  1. Plow Pose (Halasana)How to do plow pose

Plow Pose strengthens the immune system of your body and improves digestion and appetite. It provides comfort to your liver and intestine. Regular practice of this pose helps to improve the blood circulation in the pelvic area and boosts digestion. Know more

  1. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

How to do Cobra pose
Photo Credit: Grokker

This pose stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest, and abdominals. It opens up the shoulders, neck, tones the abdomen and buttocks and increases the flexibility of the spine. Improves circulation of blood and removes fatigue and stress. Know more

  1. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

How to do bow pose

This pose helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, tones legs, and arm muscles. It is also effective in weight loss, digestion, and improving appetite. Know more

  1. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

How to do bridge pose
Photo Credit: Yoga Journal

This pose helps to keep your spine and brain healthy. It strengthens your back muscles, gives relief from the back pain and improves the blood circulation. Moreover, it helps to calm your brain and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Regular practice of this pose help to increase energy in your body to help you better the resistance against the viruses. Know more

  1. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

How to do fish pose
Photo Credit: Yoga

This pose stretches your neck and stimulates the thyroid glands, lowers stress levels and reduces the stiffness of muscles and joints. It helps to improve the immune system and metabolism in your body. Know more

  1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

How to do Child's pose

Balasana helps to relax the muscles of your body and restores your physical, mental and emotional balance. This pose also promotes blood circulation throughout your body.  You fold at the abdomen and this helps to massage the digestive organs. This is an excellent pose to strengthen your immune system. Know more

Guidelines for a healthy lifestyle

Yoga helps to boost your immune system. In addition, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Let’s find out some tips to make your immune system function better.

  • Eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, vitamins and minerals.
  • Practice yoga, meditation and other exercises regularly.
  • Maintain your blood pressure level.
  • Drink at least 7 to 8 litres of water daily to detoxify your body.
  • Sleep for 6 to 8 hours to give your body proper rest.
  • Avoid consumption of junk food and packaged drinks

Regular practice of yoga will bring both physical and mental stability to your life. Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and keep cold and fever at distance! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

How to do Lion Pose

How to do Simhasana (Lion Pose) & it’s Benefits

W
e face many problems in our daily lives which lead to frustration, anger and stress. The ancient yogis formulated a beautiful yoga pose to throw out that negative energy from our life. We are talking about the Lion Pose. This pose helps to release that frustration which is created by the self, due to the accumulated negative energy.

Simha-Lion | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as sim-HAHS-anna, Sanskrit- सिंहासन. In this posture, the body and face invoke the force and intensity of a lion’s roar. This is regarded as one of the best face exercises. This pose also stimulates the platysma which is a thin, rectangular shaped muscle in front of the throat. Moreover, it also helps to clear the passage of the throat.

Benefits of Lion Pose

  • This pose helps to improve the tone and texture of the voice.
  • Reduces tension in the chest and face.
  • Stimulates the platysma and keeps the muscle firm as you continue to age.
  • Improve blood circulation to the face.
  • Reduces bad breath, wrinkles and delays ageing.
  • Relaxes your neck muscles and relieves burning eyes.
  • Cures back pains, clenched jaws and teeth grinding.
  • Activates the bandhas and destroys the diseases.
  • Stimulate the nerves of the eye and keeps your eyes healthy.
  • Different parts of the body e.g. face, eyes, ears, tongue, throat, chest and fingers get benefitted.
  • Helps to exercise the tongue during the posture because of the full stretch outside the mouth.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who have a knee injury, should sit on a chair and practice this pose. This pose is very safe to practice.

Steps to do a perfect Lion Pose

  • Sit up in the kneeling position or Vajrasana. Move your knees apart so that they can make a right angle between them.
  • Now, place your palms under your thighs. The palms should face downward while pressing firmly against your yoga mat. Ensure that the palms are pointed towards your body.
  • You can also just sit in Vajrasana and rest your palms on the knees while the knees are stretched and wide apart.

Simhasana.jpg
Photo Credit: idyaz

  • Bend forward and shift the weight of your body on arms.
  • Now, keeping your eyes open, tilt your head backwards.
  • Inhale through the nose and open your mouth, and stretch out your tongue outwards. Curl the tip of the tongue towards the chin.
  • Gaze the space between your eyebrows while keeping your eyes open.
  • Breathe gently and during exhalation produce ‘ha’ sound. This sound will imitate the breathing of a lion with the tongue outside.
  • Relax your body and repeat the sound few times. 

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Variation

If you are feeling uncomfortable sitting on the floor due to a knee injury, then practise this pose on the chair. You can also practise this pose in Cow pose while making the same ‘ha’ sound. Sometimes, instead of looking through the eyebrows, you can also look at the tip of your nose.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

In this pose, the arms and shoulders are thrown outside violently, as an external manifestation of the release of stress, anxiety, fear, anger and the negative energy we accumulate from our daily chaos. This asana is a secret to your glowing skin and youthful life.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

How to Supine Spinal Twist Pose

How to do Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

A powerful reclining twist Pose which provides various benefits for the entire body. When we twist our body in this pose, it increases the flexibility of our spine, tones the abdominal organs and improves the digestion. The Supine Spinal Twist Pose is a restorative beginner pose which helps to relax your mind and body.

Supta-Reclining | Matsyendra-King of the fish | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as SOOP-tah MAT-see-en-DRAHS-anna, Sanskrit- सुप्तर्मत्स्येन्द्रासन. The Supta Matsyendrasana is also known as the Supine Twist Pose, the Reclining Twist Pose, the Reclining Lord of the Fish Pose, and the Jathara Parivartanasana.

Benefits of Supine Spinal Twist Pose

  • This pose stretches your shoulders, chest, hips, spine, lower back, and upper back.
  • Stretches spine, vertebrae and makes them flexible.
  • Relieves stiffness in your spine, hips and lower back.
  • Releases stress, anxiety, depression and calm your mind.
  • Massages the back, hips and stretches the back muscles and glutes.
  • Massages and strengthens the abdominal organs.
  • The twist increases the blood flow to your digestive organs and improves the digestion.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who have recent or current knee or hip injury, lower back problem, internal organ surgery should not practice this pose. It’s advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher if you are suffering from back pain, back injury or degenerative disk disease. Women should practise this pose under the guidance of an expert during pregnancy.

Steps to do a perfect Supine Spinal Twist Pose

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the yoga mat. Rest your arms at your sides.
  • While you exhale, gently press your lower back on the floor.
  • If you need extra neck support, use pillows or rolled blanket to rest your head.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles, bend your knees while you inhale and lift your feet off the floor.

Supine Spinal Twist Pose

  • Now, exhale and stretch out your arms to the side so that they can create a straight line with your shoulders. Place your palms facing downward, so that they can provide you with the extra support.
  • Continue to support your spine with your core muscles. Now, bring your feet and knees together.
  • Inhale and lift your heels slightly higher than your knees.
  • Exhale and lower both your legs to the left of the floor. Ensure that your knees and feet are stacked. Make sure that your knees should be at the level of your hips and heels resting about a foot away from buttocks.
  • Breathe slowly and turn your head to the right. Maintain a twist in your upper spine while rooting down your right shoulder. Hold this pose for few breaths.
  • Now, to release this posture, press both your hands to the floor and contract your abdominal muscles.
  • As you inhale lift your knees and feet over your chest. Hold your knees with both hands.
  • Exhale, pull your thighs to your chest, and lift your head and chest to your thighs. Ensure not to lift your shoulders as you raise your head.
  • Now, lower your shoulders and head to the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles. Stretch out your arms and repeat the same procedure on the other side.

Variation

Beginners might find it difficult stack their legs in this pose. Ensure to stretch your top knee only as much as you can. Don’t force your body at any moment to perfect this pose.  You could use a pillow or bolster to support your knee.

Variation_Supine Spinal Twist Pose

After you mastered the basic pose, then increase the stretch in your hips with some variation. Cross your right knee over your left knee and wrap your right foot around the left calf muscles. This will reflect the pose of Garudasana. Now, shift your hips slightly to the right and drop your knees to the left. Bring your legs back to the center and repeat the same procedure on the other side.

Tips

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Women should use pillows between their knees to be more comfortable during the pregnancy. To make this pose more relaxing you can use Yoga blocks to rest your top knee and top foot. In addition, place a folded blanket between your legs or rest your top knee or leg on a bolster or pillow. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and try to keep both shoulder blades on the floor. Rest the opposite hand on your top knee to gently add more weight. During the posture, take deep breaths and ensure not to hold your breath.

Twists are a great way to stimulate your abdominal muscles and reduce the stress, anxiety and improve your mood. Moreover, it is also a great pose to restore your balance. Now, since you know the steps and benefits of this pose, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

Yoga poses to cure constipation

Yoga Poses to Cure Constipation and Gas Problems

Have you suffered frequent stomach pain and difficulty in bowel movement throughout the day? Isn’t it really annoying and uncomfortable? You must have been feeling like when shall I get relieved from this situation? This is a symptom of a disease called Constipation. This is a daily affair and finds commonly with people of different ages.

Constipation means different for different people. It may be just a passage of hard stool or for some people, it may be an untimely stool. This mainly happens due to the unhealthy lifestyle. Let us know some of the main causes of constipation.

  • Intake of much junk food
  • Less time for rest
  • Less intake of water
  • Inappropriate work hours
  • Diet less on fresh vegetables, food low on fiber

Symptoms of Constipation

This varies from people to people. Let us find out some of the common symptoms of this disease.

  • Straining while having bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain, cramps and aches in stomach
  • Infrequent or few bowel movements
  • Passage of hard or small stool
  • Bloated stomach

There are various ways to cure constipation. You can visit a doctor and take laxatives and other treatments. But, prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, yoga plays an important role to achieve this objective. Regular practice of Yoga helps to revitalize your body. In addition, it also increases the flow of blood and oxygen into your body system. Since the practice involves pelvic movements, it takes care of infrequent bowel movement. As a result, straining and bloating of the stomach gets prevented.

So, let’s find out 7 best yoga poses which would help you provide relief from constipation and normalize the infrequent bowel movement.

  1. Pawanmuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)

Pawanmuktasana

Wind Relieving Pose massages the abdominal muscles, intestines and internal organs of the digestive system. Therefore, releases the trapped gases, improves digestion and alleviates constipation. Acidity and bloating problems also get reduced. It also helps in relieving acid reflux which is caused by indigestion. Know more

  1. Halasana (Plow Pose)

Plow Pose

Plow Pose strengthens the immune system of your body and improves digestion and appetite. It provides comfort to your liver and intestine. Regular practice of this pose helps to improve the blood circulation in the pelvic area and boosts digestion. Know more

  1. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Half Spinal Twist Pose helps to detoxify the internal organs and increases the circulation of blood. It also helps to calm the nervous system and tones abdomen. Therefore, helps to improve the bowel movement and relieves constipation. Know more

  1. Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)

Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Pose improves the blood circulation throughout your body and stimulates the abdominal organs, bladder, and kidneys. Moreover, it also helps to improve your digestive system and relieves gas, cramping and bloating of the stomach. Most of all regular practising of this pose helps to reduce stress, which aids in improving the digestion. Know more

  1. Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Mayurasana

Peacock Pose helps to build abdominal muscles, arm strength, and balance. It increases the blood circulation in the abdominal area. Therefore, helps to detoxify the body, tone the digestive organs and remove the constipation problems. Know more

  1. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Twist Pose)

Supta Matsyendrasana

Supine Twist pose is very helpful for digestion and providing constipation relief. The twisting motion of this pose massages the intestines and detoxify the body. In addition, it stimulates the blood flow to your gut, which improves the digestion.

  • Lie on your back and draw both your legs up to the chest.
  • Extend the left leg straight out, bend your right leg and bring it to the left across your body.
  • Ensure to keep your back and shoulders pressed against the floor and look towards the right.
  • Hold this pose for few breaths, release and relax.
  • Repeat the same procedure on the other side.

This asana is a combination of twisting and relaxing pose. It relaxes the body and relieves the tension trapped in the abdomen.

  1. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Balasana

Balasana helps to relax the muscles of your body and restores your physical, mental and emotional balance. This pose also promotes blood circulation throughout your body.  You fold at the abdomen and this helps to massage the digestive organs. Though it’s a non-twisting pose, it helps to relieve the acid reflux and constipation. Know more

Some useful tips to control constipation and improve the digestion.

  • Drink 10 to 12 glasses of water every day. This helps to detoxify your body.
  • Develop a regular eating habit and chew foods properly before swallowing.
  • Ensure to make a habit of bowel evacuation early morning every day.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits, salads and leafy vegetables.
  • Drink warm lemon juice mixed with honey in the morning to clean the bowel.
  • Eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables like orange, papaya, beans, etc.
  • Don’t exert pressure to empty your stomach.
  • Avoid non-vegetarian and junk foods.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol to keep yourself healthy.
  • Keep yourself out of stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Practice yoga regularly for few minutes.

Now, you know all the details about constipation and how to prevent this situation. Regular practice of yoga will only take 10-15 minutes from your daily schedule and give you instant relief from constipation and acid reflux. While you practice yoga, include proper diet in your routine as mentioned above.

Enjoy the practice of Yoga and Pranayama to prevent constipation. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!