Basic Yoga asanas procedure and benefits and contraindications

Theory and Practise of Asanas, yoga asanas procedure: Physical exercises help develop the muscles through mechanical movement, whereas Yogic Asanas cater to the development of both the body and mind. Through constant practice of Yoga, one can even have control over involuntary muscles of the body.

Yoga Asanas and Physical Exercises

Yoga asana

Physical exercises help develop the muscles through mechanical movement, whereas Yogic Asanas cater to the development of both the body and mind. Through constant practice of Yoga, one can even have control over involuntary muscles of the body.

Physical exercises are done through fast movement of the muscles, whereas Yogic Asanas should be performed with ease and comfort and all undue strain and exertion of the body must be scrupulously avoided. Physical exercises do not guarantee a healthy body. The practice of Yogic Asanas ensures a healthy body, which is a state when all the organs of the body function perfectly under the intelligent control of the mind.

The heart is put under tremendous strain during the performance of physical exercises, as they involve rapid movement of the muscles. In the practice of Yogic Asanas, all movements are slow and gradual with proper breathing and relaxation. This revitalizes the heart and does not produce any type of strain.

The main objective of physical exercise is to increase blood circulation and also improve the capacity for the intake of oxygen through rapid movement of the muscles and other parts of the body. This can be easily achieved via the practice of Asanas through simple movement of the spine and various joints of the body with deep breathing and without any violent movement of any kind.

One of the most glaring differences between physical exercises and Yogic Asanas is that after the completion of a course of physical exercises one is completely exhausted and tired. On the other hand, the performance of Asanas is done slowly and gradually through the rhythmic movement of the body synchronized with the breath. Our forefathers so ingeniously designed the Asanas that while performing the Asanas energy is generated within the body and, therefore, after completion of a series of Yogic Asanas one feels refreshed and energetic.

There is no question of >fatigue or tiredness after the completion of Yogic Asanas. While performing the Asanas, various limbs of the body are stretched and maintained for a particular duration, and then they are released slowly and gracefully. This process of stretching and releasing in a rhythmic manner brings about a wonderful relaxation in the entire body.

Yogic Asanas are meant to tone up the internal organs of the body and to revitalize the working of the endocrine glands. On the other hand, physical exercises are meant to build muscles of the body. Yogic Asanas ensure better health, whereas physical exercises provide a good physique. However, Yogic Asanas and physical exercises can be practiced simultaneously.

The only condition required for the performance of physical exercises is that they should be done after ensuring a break of half an hour on completion of Yogic Asanas. Both should not be continuously practiced. The best way of combining these two aspects is that in the morning Yogic Asanas could be performed and in the evening physical exercises may be done.

Time Limit for Asanas

There is no time limit for individual Asanas and this is left completely to the convenience of the practitioner. There are two types of asanas; one is static and the other dynamic. The dynamic Asanas could be repeated a number of times. This can be done without getting tired. As far as the static Asanas are concerned, the practitioner is expected to be in a posture for a prescribed time.

There is no stipulated time for individual Asanas. However, if the practitioner feels some pain in any part of the body while performing the Asanas, he should immediately stop. The time devoted for the individual Asana should be of short duration in the initial stage and this duration should be gradually increased on the basis of the comfort and ease with which a person can perform. The time at the disposal of the practitioner and the objective for which he is practicing are the prime determining factors.

Closed or Open Eyes

In the early stages of the practice of Asanas, it is better to open the eyes, which will enable one to observe whether they are being done perfectly. If the postures are wrong they can be checked and corrected. One can keep the eyes closed only when the performance of a particular Asana is proper and satisfactory. When the eyes are closed, the mind becomes calm and one can look inward and concentrate mainly on the benefits of the Asana.

Sequence of Asanas

The Asanas should be practiced in perfect sequence or the practitioner will not derive maximum benefit. The sequence should be meticulously observed, particularly in the initial stages. The order in which the Asanas must be performed depends upon the number of Asanas chosen and the time at the disposal of the practitioner.

However, certain general principles can be evolved to formulate the sequence of doing the Asanas. After completing a forward bending Asana it is better to immediately do a backward bending one to act as a counter-posture. This is the main reason why it is generally recommended that Matsya Asana should always be performed immediately after completing Sarvanga Asana. Similarly, Chakra Asana may be done after Hal Asana.

Strict adherence to the sequence may be followed in the initial stage. Once mastery is obtained in the performance of the Asanas, one can create one’s own sequence on the basis of personal requirements.

Ardha Matsyendra Yoga Asana (Half Spinal Twist Posture)

Ardha Matsyendrasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana Yoga Asana

Technique

  • Sit with legs stretched in front.
  • Bend the left leg and place under buttocks so that the upper end of the heel touches the upper end of the thigh. Place right hand behind the back.
  • Hold toe of the right leg with left hand.
  • The left hand should be straight and kept outside the right knee.
  • Twist body towards right as much as possible.
  • Remain in this posture for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Change position of legs and hands alternately and continue the same procedure.
Synchronisation of Breath
  • Exhale while twisting the entire body.
  • Have normal breathing while maintaining final posture.
  • Inhale while returning to the normal position.

Benefits of Ardha Matsyendra Yoga Asana

  • Tones up pancreas, adrenal, thyroid and sex glands.
  • Abdominal muscles are strengthened.
  • Due to internal activation, disorders of kidneys, spleen, liver, stomach, intestine, bladder and pelvis are corrected.
  • Provides maximum flexibility to the spine.
  • Removes spinal pain and tones up spinal nerves.
  • Compresses abdominal area, thereby eliminating constipation and dyspepsia and improving digestion.
  • Protects against enlargement of prostrate and bladder.
  • Good for persons with weak kidneys experiencing urinary troubles.
  • Tones up sexual organs and greatly improves sexual performance of both men and women.

Ensures beneficial results for diabetics.

Activates the Subconscious Mind

As it is a good posture for diabetes, diabetics may suggest as follows: “1 am getting relief from diabetes.”Suitability: Suitable for all but especially good for diabetics.

Bhadra Yoga Asana (Yoga Good Posture)

Technique

  • Sit with both the legs fully stretched out.
  • Fold both legs simultaneously and ensure the soles of the feet touch each other all along.
  • Hold the feet with bct:h hands and draw them nearer to the body trying to touch the genitals with the heels.
  • Press both knees so that they touch the floor.
  • Keep the upper part of the body and neck erect.
  • Keep both hands on respective knees.
  • With the hands you may swing your legs up and down as many times as you feel comfortable. This is also called Butterfly Posture.
  • In the same posture, bend forward and touch the ground with the forehead. This is the final posture.
Synchronisation of Breath

Maintain normal breath.

Benefits of Bhadra Yoga Asana

  • Makes legs and feet very flexible.
  • Exercises both superficial and deep muscles of the inner side of thigh.
  • Strengthens muscles and ligaments of uro-genital region.
  • Prevents erotic dreams and involuntary discharge.
  • Tones up nerves, muscles and circulatory system of the perineum and the genital! organs of both men and women.
  • Improves quality of seminal fluid.
  • Improves sexual performance considerably.
  • Eliminates premature ejaculation and maintains erection of penis in males during coitus for a considerable length of time.
  • Strengthens the circulatory and neuromuscular system of the female uro-genital organs and improves chances of conception.

Activates the Subconscious Mind

Since this Asana considerably improves sexual performance in males, those who canna, effectively perform the sexual act may derive maximum benefit from this Asana by the following autosuggestion:

“My sexual performance .is improving considerably through this Asana.”

Those ladies who did not conceive even after a few years of marriage may do this Asana with great benefit and chances of conception will be bright if one practices asana consistently. Use the following suggestion:

“This Asana improves my chances of conception.”

Suitability Suitable for all, but an excellent Asana especially for a person seeking to improve sexual potential.

Precautions:

While doing this Asana, both the knees should touch the ground. If this is not possible initially, the attempt should be made gradually by pressing both knees with the han& to achieve the desired result.

Bhujanga Yoga Asana (The Cobra Position)

Bhujang Asana
Bhujang Yoga Asana

This is one of the postures in Surya Namaskar. However, it is presented separately because of its importance. This can be performed independently too.

Technique

  • Lie flat on the abdomen.
  • Bring palms beneath the shoulder on both sides.
  • Stretch legs straight to their full length, keeping them close together.
  • Keep toes pointing outward.
  • The head should be raised, giving a backward bend to the neck.
  • The chest should be raised slowly, contracting the muscles of the back and the vertebral column (backbone) should be made to undergo an extension as much as possible.
  • Keep the navel on the floor or close to the floor. The body above the navel area should be raised in an upward position.
  • Now bring the arms into action and slowly bend the whole back as much as possible without straining until the arms are straight.
  • Retain the posture for a while.
  • Now lower the head gradually and return to the normal position.
  • Repeat this process three to five times.
Synchronisation of Breath

Breathe in while bending backward, have inner retention while in the final posture, and exhale while returning to the normal position

Benefits of Bhujanga Yoga Asana

  • Relieves pain in the back caused by overwork.
  • The abdominal muscles are pulled and thereby strengthened.
  • Increases inter-abdominal pressure.
  • Raises body heat and destroys many ailments.
  • Good for injured and slightly displaced spinal discs. Puts discs in their original position.
  • The spinal region is toned.
  • The chest is expanded.
  • Reduces abdominal fat.
  • Relieves constipation and flatulence and cures indigestion, dysentery, stomach ache and other abdominal problems.
  • Helps overcome longstanding spinal pain even when caused by osteoarthritic changes in spine.
  • Tones up muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as nerves and blood vessels of the spinal region.
  • Brings suppleness to the spine, which is the source of health, vitality and youthfulness.
  • Aids in normal functioning of thyroid gland if there has been any departure from the normal.
  • Tones up supra-renal medulla, which manufactures adrenaline, the hormone promoting energy.
  • Helps cure female sexual disorders like leucorrhoea (white discharge), dysmenorrhoea (painful or difficult menstruation) and also tones up the ovaries and uterus.
  • The thoracic cavity is widened and allows full expansion of the lungs, thereby increasing breathing power.
  • During the final posture the gallbladder, spleen and pancreas are stimulated by the gentle and deep massage. Promotes beauty and increases feminine charm.
  • Regular practise makes childbirth easy.
  • Awakens Kundalini Shakti.
  • Sexual performance of men and women is considerably improved as this Asana provides superb exercise to the spinal sex centre.
  • Activates chest, shoulder, neck, face and head areas in an effective way, enhancing facial beauty.
Activates the subconscious mind this Asana is particularly suited for toning up the spine and regular practice makes the spine supple and flexible. Since the suppleness of the spine ensures radiant vitality and youthfulness. One may concentrate on this aspect and use the following autosuggestion while performing the Asana: “I am gaining radiant health and a youthful look.”Suitability Suitable for all, but ensures greater benefits for ladies.

Chakra Yoga Asana (The Wheel Posture)

Chakrasana
Chakra Yoga Asana

Technique

  • Lie on the back with feet well apart. 
  • Bend legs and arms and place palms on the floor a little behind the head, fingers pointing towards the feet. With some effort, raise the body above the ground and make an arch.
  • The entire body must rest on the feet and hands. 
Synchronisation of Breath

Inhale while raising the body from the ground and making an arch. Retain breath in that position as long as possible. Exhale when resuming the normal position. Once mastery in performing this Asana is attained, one can stay in this posture for a longer duration with normal breathing. 

Benefits of Chakra Yoga Asana

  • Keeps the spine flexible even in old age.
  • Beneficial for the entire nervous and glandular system.
  • Develops muscles of back, neck, spine and shoulders.
  • Activates the intestine.
  • keeps the practitioner alert and energetic.
  • Sharpens eyesight.
  • Improves texture and complexion of skin.
  • Tones up the sex centre in the spine. 
  • Affords relief in constipation, flatulence and asthma.
  • Tones up nerves serving the organs of sight, hearing, smell and taste.
  • Controls gastric trouble.
  • Energises a sluggish liver.
  • Improves blood circulation to the brain and enhances intelligence and alertness.
Activates the subconscious mind those suffering from gastric trouble and sluggish liver may use autosuggestion to cure such ailments. Suitability: Suitable for young boys and girls.

Hal Yoga Asana (The Plough Posture)

Halasana
Hal yoga asana

Technique

  • Lie flat on the back full length.
  • Place arms on both sides of the floor, palms facing the ground.
  • Join both legs and lift them up slowly as you inhale. Do not bend your legs.
  • Slowly raise the hips and lumbar region of the back.
  • Lower the legs until the toes touch the floor beyond the head.
  • Keep legs straight.
  • Relax the body and remain in the final posture for a comfortable period of time.
  • Another variation of this posture is to stretch both the hands behind the back.
Synchronization of Breath
  • Inhale when raising the legs.
  • Exhale when lowering legs to the floor.
  • Ensure normal breathing in the final posture

Benefits of HAL Yoga Asana

  • According to Tantra Yoga, this Asana is one of the best to hone sexual powers. It invigorates and nourishes all sexual glands and thereby improves sexual potential to a considerable extent. It also corrects impotence, frigidity and lack of sexual powers.
  • Activates functioning of abdominal organs, especially the kidneys and pancreas.
  • Eliminates constipation, cures dyspepsia and improves digestion.
  • Regulates activities of the thyroid and ensures agility and energy.
  • The spine receives an extra supply of blood due to the forward bend and this relieves backache.
  • Improves blood circulation in the brain, thereby contributing to intelligence, alertness and good memory.
  • Cures certain types of diabetes as it helps to improve secretion of all glands in the abdomen.
  • Corrects menstrual disorders in women.
  • Prevents early ossification of vertebral bones.
  • Cures enlargement of liver and spleen.
  • Activates abdominal and rectal muscles as well as the thighs.
  • Reduces fat from all parts of the body, especially the waist. Makes the body lighter and more active.
  • Reduces muscular tension.
  • Cures gastric and other stomach troubles.
  • Eliminates piles.
  • Reduces tendency towards high blood pressure.
Activates the subconscious mind the benefits derived from this Asana are varied, so the practitioner may pick any benefit he would like to derive and concentrate on that particular aspect while performing this Asana. However, women suffering from frequent menstrual disorders may suggest to themselves that they are being cured of their menstrual problems after performing this Asana regularly. While doing this Asana, it is also good to suggest improvement in all sexual aspects. Suitability: Suitable for all. Precautions aged persons and those suffering from back pain and high blood pressure should not do this Asana.

Matsya Yoga Asana (The Fish Posture)

Technique

  • Sit in Padma Asana.
  • Gradually bend backwards and lie on the back.
  • Do not raise the knees locked up in Padma Asana. Rest the elbows on the floor.
  • Then bend the head backwards and make an arch form by bending the backbone.
  • After bending the backbone in an arch, rest the head on the floor.
  • For making a bigger arch exert more pull on the thighs and more twist on the neck and back. But do not strain to achieve.
  • After making an arch of the body, stay in this position for ten to fifteen seconds.
  • An advanced way of doing this Asana is to bring the right hand below the body to the opposite side and catch the right big toe.
  • Similarly the left hand should be brought below near the hip to catch the left big toe.
Synchronization of Breath

Maintain normal breathing.

Benefits of Matsya Yoga Asana

  • Activates the spine and all muscles of the back.
  • Gives massage effect to facial tissues and face wrinkles disappear, thereby ensuring a youthful look.
  • Removes stiffness of the neck and back and brings flexibility to the whole upper area of the body.
  • As the chest is thrown open, deep breathing is possible. Helps to remove spasm from bronchial tubes and thereby relieves asthma.
  • Backward pressure of the head causes a brisk flow of blood to all areas of the neck.
  • An excellent Asana for colds and purulent tonsils.
  • Thyroids and parathyroids receive lot of blood.
  • Gives strength to the waist, back and neck.
  • Tones up pituitary and pineal glands that are located in the brain.
  • Eliminates constipation and massages abdominal organs.
  • Good for women as it stimulates pelvic organs, especially genital ones and the ovaries in particular.
  • Broadens the chest, corrects a hunchback and thereby ensures body symmetry.
  • Good for wrestlers in preventing defeat by pin fall.
  • Reduces fat from buttocks and stomach.
  • Imparts lightness and activity to the body as a whole.
  • Useful for abdominal illness.
  • Helps diabetics by improving general metabolism.
  • Relieves inflamed and bleeding piles.
Activates the subconscious mind since this Asana ensures varied benefits one should mentally repeat any statement suited to his needs. Suitability: Suitable for all.

Mayur Yoga Asana (Peacock Posture)

Technique

  • Lie down on the stomach.
  • Raise the entire body from the ground keeping the elbows on the stomach.
  • The entire body should be supported on the toes and palms.
  • Now slowly lift both legs up.
  • Initially, it is very difficult to raise both legs. In such cases, keep one leg on the ground and raise the other leg.
  • Gradually try to raise both legs and balance the whole body on the elbows only.
  • The body should be in a somewhat slanting position.
  • The position of the head should be lower than the legs.
  • Remain in this posture for 20 to 30 seconds. Those adept at Padma Asana can assume Padma Mayur Asana.
Synchronization of Breath

Inhale while raising legs upwards. Maintain normal breath in the final posture.

Benefits of Mayur Yoga Asana

  • The lungs and abdominal organs are toned up.
  • Activates functioning of liver.
  • Improves appetite.
  • Destroys the effects of unwholesome food.
  • Cures dyspepsia and chronic gastritis.
  • Cures diabetes.
  • Strengthens muscles of the arms.
  • Cures every type of constipation.
  • Improves functioning of the spleen.
  • Prevents accumulation of toxins caused by faulty eating habits.
  • Destroys poisonous effects created in the body.
  • Increases breathing capacity.
  • Helps remove skin complaints like boils.
  • Awakens Kundalini Shakti.
Activates the subconscious mind to concentrate on one of the benefits of this Asana. Suitability: Suitable for all. Precautions those suffering from high blood pressure, peptic ulcers, and hernia should not perform this Asana.
Initially, it is better to keep a soft pillow below the head to avert hurting the nose.

Paschimothan Yoga Asana (Back Stretching Posture)

Paschimottanasana
Paschimottanasana

Technique

  • Lie flat on the back with arms parallel to the body and legs together.
  • Inhale deeply and stiffen the body.
  • Slowly raise the head and chest and assume a sitting posture, keeping the knees rigid and legs on the floor.
  • Now exhale and bend further to hold the toe.
  • Then slowly bend till the face rests on the knees.
  • Inhale and return to the sitting position and then be flat on your back with arms parallel to the body.

This Asana could be done in a dynamic manner and can be repeated three to five times.

Benefits of Paschimothan Asana

  • Brings flexibility to the spine. According to Yoga, the rigidity of the spine is a symptom of old age. So flexibility ensures qualities of youthfulness.
  • Corrects all disorders of the spine.
  • Relieves backache and back problems.
  • Abdominal muscles and organs are toned up.
  • Cures all kinds of stomach trouble. This is one of the best postures to improve digestion. It is stated in the Vedas that a person can consume poison and do this Asana. The poison will be digested. However, we advise readers not to risk trying this experiment.
  • Good for those with low blood pressure.
  • Removes excess fat from the stomach and hips.
  • Tones up the lumber region of the spine.
  • The solar plexus and nervous system of the spine are gently stimulated and freed from congestion.
  • Renews vigour and vitality in sexual activity and removes disorders of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, intestines, spleen and seminal secretions.
  • Prevents certain forms of ulcers.
  • The waist is reduced, as adipose tissue is removed from the stomach and thighs, thereby improving physical personality.
  • Especially good for ladies as it reduces excess fat and develops a graceful figure.
  • Increases height if practised in adolescence.
  • Alleviates muscular pains, especially in lumber and dorsal regions as well as the legs.
  • Advocated for controlling repeated hiccups and asthmatic attacks.
  • Improves general health considerably.
Activates the subconscious mind since there are innumerable benefits derived from this Asana it is better to choose one of the benefits according to one’s need. Persons with weak digestive capacity may suggest to themselves that their digestive power is increasing. Those desirous of developing a graceful figure may concentrate on these aspects persons suffering from stomach disorders and constipation may mentally repeat that they are greatly relieved from stomach trouble. Suitability It is suitable for all. However, people with weak digestive power may secure mOIl beneficial results. It is good for ladies in attaining a graceful figure, and for the middle-aged to improve their sex lives. Precautions People with slipped discs and those suffering from sciatica, chronic arthritis, and sacral infections should not perform this Asana.

Sarvanga Yoga Asana (The Shoulder Stand Posture)

Sarvangnasana
Sarvangasana

Technique

  • Assume a lying down position on the seat with the back to the ground.
  • Slowly raise the legs with slow, gradual and constant inhalation.
  • The legs must be in a straight line with the trunk and the hips.
  • Support the back on the sides with your hands.
  • Start exhaling and raise legs upwards towards the sky.
  • The trunks and legs should extend straight upwards with the neck forming a right angle, the chest pressing against the chin.
  • Avoid jerking and do this Asana very gracefully.
  • The whole weight of the body should be thrown on the shoulders.
  • Remain in this posture for as long as possible, breathing normally.
  • As in Sirsha Asana, you may do Padma Sarvanga Asana.
  • After this, exhale and gradually bring down your legs. Release the hands, lie flat and relax.

Benefits of Sarvanga Yoga Asana

  • Improves flow of blood to the brain.
  • Stimulates the thyroid gland and keeps it in healthy condition, which results in healthy functioning of all organs of the body.
  • Tones up the nervous and reproductive systems.
  • Adjusts improper body growth.
  • Brings relief from congestion in the abdominal and pelvic regions.
  • Helps cure ailments like constipation, dyspepsia, headache, etc.
  • Keeps the vertebral column in an elastic and pliable condition.
  • A verts calcification of body parts and thereby youth is preserved for longer time.
  • Improves functioning of chords and thereby improves the voice of singers.
  • Aids in awakening Kundalini Shakti.
  • All parts of the body are exercised, energised and activated.
  • Removes respiratory defects in the lungs through internal activation.
  • Gives asthma patients relief.
  • Energises all sex glands and thereby improves sexual activity in both males and females.
  • Ensures great relief from functional disorders of the eyes, ears, nose and throat.
  • Cures appendicitis, gastrointestinal disorders and varicose veins.
  • The face receives extra supply of blood, especially over the forehead and the scalp and thereby helps prevent lines and wrinkles in the face. This preserves the youthful look in both men and women.
  • This Asana has medicinal value for curing impotence, frigidity, lack of sexual power and various other defects of the sexual organs.
  • The heart gets rest as long as you remain in this asana. This insures one against all heart troubles.
  • For women, this Asana banishes the ever-present menace of irritation and catarrh of the uterus.
  • Improves mental faculty considerably.
Activate the subconscious mind this is one of the best Asanas conferring many benefits on practitioners. However, this is particularly designed to stimulate the thyroid gland and activate the vocal cords. Since the thyroid gland is responsible for the healthy functioning of all organs in the body, it is possible to maintain perfect health throughout one’s life by consistent practice of this Asana. Therefore, while doing this Asana, one may suggest the following to activate the subconscious mind: “My general health is improving to a great extent by doing this Asana. As this asana also activates the functioning of the vocal cords, orators, teachers, and singers may suggest that their voice has improved considerably by doing this asana”.

Suitability:

Suitable for all practitioners. PrecautionsThis Asana should not be attempted by persons suffering from high blood pressure, heart ailments, enlarged thyroid, liver, or spleen problems. The Importance this is a good substitute for Sirsha Asana. Those who are not able to perform Sirsha Asana can very well do this and derive the same benefits as Sirsha Asana. If Sirsha Asana is not done properly the practitioner may have some adverse effect on his health, whereas Sarvanga Asana can easily be done by anybody without any harmful effects. This asana is particularly good for persons who are taking up Yoga after the age of 40.

Shava Asana(Corpse Pose)

Shavasana
Shavasana

Technique

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Keep hands on the ground by the sides.
  • The entire body should be kept relaxed and in a straight position.
  • The eyes must be closed throughout this asana.
  • Now relax all muscles of the body.
  • No part of the body should make the slightest movement.
  • No tension should remain in any part of the body.
  • If someone were to raise the arm or leg they fall as if there is no life in them.
  • For the time being, give up thinking about problems of daily life.
  • Imagine you are sinking into the ground.
  • Breathe normally and while exhaling let the mind feel that the body is going deeper down into the earth.
  • One must be aware that one is relaxing and should not fall asleep.
  • Consciously relax every part of the body and mentally direct the blood to a particular part of the body and after consistent practice one may feel that quite a good quantity of blood rushes to the specific body part where it has been directed. This area is then completely relaxed. This process of relaxation may be done from toes to face.
  • Even in the face, one may practise relaxation of every part like the eyes, ears, and nose.
  • When all the nerves are calmed down, one feels completely relaxed and  refreshed.
  • If relaxation is perfect and complete, one may feel the energy flows from the back of the head towards the heels.

This asana may appear the easiest but is the most difficult to perform accurately as a person trains himself to do this asana correctly he derives immense benefit.

The best way for quick relaxation is to breathe out and pause. The time spent outer retention is the point of relaxation. Breathe in, breathe out and pause-this is a cycle. If one wants total relaxation, one may repeat this cycle 20 to 25 times.

Synchronization of Breath

Maintain normal breathing throughout this asana. However, you should be fi conscious of your breathing process.
When the outer retention method is followed, then do as stated above.

Benefits of Shava Asana

  • Ensures complete relaxation and perfect ease. Removes fatigue in all situations.
  • Induces calmness of mind.
  • Best antidote for stresses of modem life. When the muscles, nerves and other organs are fully relaxed they gain strength and normal health is restored.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • Cures insomnia.
  • Enables a practitioner to be satisfied with fewer hours of sleep.
  • Turns the mind inwards and makes one introspective.
  • Acts as a prophylactic against heart diseases in general. Eminent modi cardiologists worldwide prescribe this posture to speed up recovery of patie convalescing from heart diseases.
  • If performed perfectly, the feeling of relaxation from this Asana is far superto that experienced from tranquillisers and sedatives.
  • Awakens Kundalini Shakti.
Activates the subconscious mind suggestion plays an important role here. Be very conscious of directing the suggestion to relax each and every part of the body. It is also beneficial to have a common suggestion while doing this asana.”I am relaxing completely and all my muscles and nerves are fully relaxed. “Suitability: Suitable for all, but particularly good for those leading a life of stress and strain”. Precautions are quite likely that one may be prone to fall asleep initially. This must be consciously avoided.

Sirsha Asana (The Headstand Postures)

Shirshasana
Shirshasana

Technique

  • Assume the position of Vajra Asana.
  • Bring the head down and place it on the ground.
  • Interlock the hands and keep them on the backside of your head.
  • Slowly raise your legs together and stretch them straight on the ground as much as possible.
  • This is a preparatory posture for Sirsha Asana.
  • The distance between the elbows should be equal to the distance between the head and elbow of each arm.
  • Palms should support the back portion of the head.
  • Hands should not support the weight of the body throughout the Asana.
  • After assuming the preparatory position slowly bend the knees and raise them upwards.
  • The weight of the body is borne by the head supported by the interlocked hands behind and the forearms in the front.
  • In the final posture the body should be perfectly straight and exactly vertical.
  • The most important point to be remembered in the final posture is that neither the forehead nor the back of the head should rest on the ground but only the crown of the head.
  • In the initial stages, beginners should try to do this Asana with the help of a friend. In the absence of anybody, practise this Asana against the comer of a wall so as to prevent falling down.
  • The duration of stay in the final posture differs from person to person, depending upon experience and the purpose for which Yogic practices are being undertaken.
  • Beginners may stay in the final posture for about 15 to 30 seconds.
  • The duration may be extended gradually.
  • While raising the body or staying in the final posture the eyes should never become bloodshot. H they do, the posture is presumed to be faulty.
  • An advanced way of doing this Asana is to bring both the legs down and form the Padma Asana. This is called Padma Sirsha Asana.
Synchronization of Breath-Breathe in while lifting the legs up. Maintain normal breathing in the final posture. How to end the termination of Sirsha Asana must be slow and gentle. Both legs should be brought down simultaneously with the Padma Asana posture. On termination of this posture, maintain the kneeling position with the head on the floor for at least 30 seconds. As a sort of counter-pose of this asana, do Tada Asana for five rounds.

Surya Asana (Salutation to the Sun Posture)

If there is not much time to practice Asanas, Pranayama, and meditation, Surya Namaskar alone can ensure the benefits of all types of Yogic practices.

Surya Namaskar combines the benefits of physical exercise, Asanas, and Pranayama. It is a multi-stage Asana. Being a combination of 12 Asanas, one can gain the benefits of all the Asanas involved in it. In this Asana there are 12 spinal positions. The vertebral column is bent forward and backward alternately with deep breathing. There is a contraction on the abdomen and diaphragm when the body is bent forward. When the body bends backward the chest expands and deep breathing occurs automatically. In this way, flexibility increases, and breathing is corrected.

This Asana is done preferably in the morning while facing the rising sun. If you are unable to watch the rising sun for one reason or the other, practice Surya Namaskar facing the East. Start doing it thrice only and gradually increase the number.

Technique

Pranama Asana (Prayer Posture)Position One – Pranama Asana (Prayer Posture)Stand erect facing the East, with hands relaxed by the sides. Inhale and join the palms in Namaskara Mudra on the chest. Breathe normally and concentrate on the rising sun.
Rasta Uttan Asana (Raised Arms PosturePosition Two – Rasta Uttan Asana (Raised Arms Posture)Inhale and raise the arms high. Bend backward as far as possible, hold your breath in.
Pada Rasta Asana (Head to Foot Posture)Position Three – Pada Rasta Asana (Head to Foot Posture)Without bending the knees, bend forward while exhaling till the palms touch the floor. Stay in this posture as long as you feel comfortable.
Ashwasanchalana Asana (Equestrian Posture)Position Four – Ashwasanchalana Asana (Equestrian Posture)Without inhaling, bend the left knee and stretch the left leg as far back as possible until the palms rest on the floor. The weight of the body should now be supported on the two hands, the left foot, the right knee, and the right toes. Hold your breath.
Parvat Asana (Mountain Posture)Position Five – Parvat Asana (Mountain Posture)Exhale as you straighten the left leg to place the left foot beside the right one, raise the buttocks and keep the head up, with the heels touching the floor. The body should form two sides of a triangle with the legs and arms unbent
Ashtanga Namaskar Asana (Salute with Total Surrender Posture)Position Six – Ashtanga Namaskar Asana (Salute with Total Surrender Posture)Lower the body to the floor so that the toes of the feet, the knees, the chest, the hands, and the chin touch the floor. The hips and the abdomen should be raised, do not breathe.
Bhujanga Asana (Cobra Posture)Position Seven – Bhujanga Asana (Cobra Posture)While inhaling, raise the body from the waist up by straightening the arms. Bend as far back as possible. The spine should be bent to the maximum.
Parvat AsanaPosition Eight – Parvat AsanaThis is a repetition of position five. Exhale and lift the body. Keep the feet and heels flat on the floor.
Ashwasanchalana AsanaPosition Nine – Ashwasanchalana AsanaThis posture corresponds to position four with the legs in alternate positions. Inhale and bring the right foot in line with the hands. The left foot and knee should touch the floor. Look slightly up.
Pada Rasta AsanaPosition Ten – Pada Rasta AsanaExhale and bring the left leg forward. Keep the knees straight. Bring the head to the third position.
Hasta Uttan AsanaPosition Eleven – Hasta Uttan AsanaThis is a repetition of position two
Final posturePosition Twelve – Final posture. Exhale. Drop the arms and relax.
Synchronization of Breath

Mentioned clearly at every step of doing this Asana.

Benefits of Surya Asana

  • Ensures remarkable lightness of body, buoyancy of mind and general feeling of youthfulness.
  • Strengthens the neck, arms, back, shoulders, thighs, knees, waist, calves and ankles.
  • Exercises the legs and arms mildly, thereby increasing blood circulation.
  • Cures kidney trouble by strengthening the back.
  • Activates sluggish glands.
  • Increases chest size and decreases abdominal girth.
  • Retards obesity.
  • Boosts blood supply to the entire spinal area and thereby strengthens the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys and bowels.
  • Improves and develops the bust in women and gets rid of menstrual disorders; renders childbearing less painful and improves the quantity and quality of milk in nursing mothers.
Activates the Subconscious MindSince it is an excellent asana for the general improvement of health and longevity one may make the following suggestion to oneself while performing this Asana: “My general health is improving considerably in every respect by doing this Asana.”SuitabilitySuitable for all, particularly women, who can derive considerable benefit from this Asana. Precautions of these asanas are to be performed at the time of the rising sun to derive maximum benefits. After performing this Asana it is necessary to relax by doing Shava Asana.

Tada Asana (The Mountain Pose)

  • Stand erect, interlocking the hands.
  • Inhale deeply and simultaneously raise both the heels and the interlocked hands.
  • Be in the posture with inner retention for a few seconds.
  • Then bring down the raised heels and your hands. Exhale. This is one round of Tada Asana.

This is to be done to ensure the proper functioning of the body, particularly blood circulation, which should readjust to normal conditions.
After completing Tada Asana, do Shava Asana without fail.

Benefits of Tada Asana

  • By the action of gravity, the brain receives a richer supply of blood at a somewhat increased pressure. This results in dilation of capillaries and also opens capillaries that are blocked.
  • Due to increased amount of blood to the brain, the brain cells are abundantly nourished and rejuvenated.
  • Because of the strong flushing action of the blood, the accumulated toxins and waste material are also effectively removed from the brain. This assists in the break-up of cholesterol deposits, which tend to build up on the linings of blood vessels. These deposits are closely related to the occurrence of a blood clot (coronary thrombosis).
  • Improves and maintains good physical and mental health.
  • Affects the body’s entire psycho-physiological mechanism. Produces an immediate and powerful sedation of the nervous system.
  • Psychic powers like clairvoyance, telepathy etc. are developed if this Asana is performed for a long duration over a considerable number of years.
  • Stagnant or sluggish blood in the abdomen, lungs, and sexual organs is replaced by a good flow of purified blood, which thereby eliminates fatigue caused in these areas.
  • Functions of the liver and other digestive organs are activated by decongestion, which thereby improves digestive powers through increased blood supply.
  • Urinary problems are eliminated as the kidneys and large intestine are decongested and receive an enhanced blood supply.
  • As one grows older, the sex glands are liable to accumulate stagnant blood that brings about loss in functional efficiency. Consistent practise of this Asana activates the sex glands and improves performance of sexual activities.
  • Increases blood flow to the eyes and ears and improves their functioning.
  • Minor facial wrinkles are eliminated, thereby enabling one to maintain a youthful look.
  • Regular practise of this Asana over a long period averts the appearance of grey hair.
  • Downward displacement of abdominal organs (visceroptosis) is adjusted, as there is an upward movement of the diaphragm during this Asana. Abdominal organs like the stomach, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, liver etc. are massaged.
  • Ensures tranquillity and serenity of mind.
  • Cures psychosomatic diseases.
  • Cures other diseases like headache, mild asthma, bad hearing, constipation, dyspepsia, enlarged liver, varicose veins, prolapses of sexual organs, diabetes, arthritis etc.
  • Female problems during menstruation and menopause and some sexual disorders are remedied.
  • Persons suffering from insomnia, defective memory and loss of vitality can derive maximum benefit from this Asana. They will become fountains of energy.
  • Provides resistance power to the lungs for any climatic conditions.
  • The practitioner is practically relieved from cold, coughs, tonsillitis and bad breath.
  • Keeps the body warm.
  • Improves haemoglobin content of the blood.
  • A regular practitioner gains balance of mind, acquires a sense of self-reliance and improves courage to face untoward situations in life.
  • Makes the neck, abdominal walls and thighs powerful. The chest is fully expanded.
  • Revitalises all bodily systems by increasing blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland, which is responsible for rectifying many forms of nervous and glandular disorders.
  • One of the best Asanas to sublimate sexual energies and help awaken Kundalini Shakti.
Activate the subconscious mind this Asana is considered the King of all Asanas and this is amply proved from the innumerable benefits it confers on the practitioner. Since this has tremendous therapeutic effects to cure several diseases, patients can conveniently practice this Asana to cure their diseases. They should suggest to themselves as follows while in the final posture: “I am being cured of my disease.”
This is one of the best Asanas to improve memory and intelligence. Therefore, youngsters may use this autosuggestion:
“This Asana improves my memory and intelligence.”
In the same manner, the principle of activating the subconscious mind could be applied on the basis of the needs of the individual practitioner.PrecautionsThis Asana has to be performed very carefully; otherwise, the practitioner may fall and hurt his body. This should never be attempted without the proper guidance of an expert.
Persons suffering from high blood pressure and heart ailments should not perform this Asana.

Yoga Mudra Asana (Yoga Seal Posture) this asana is highly extolled in Yogic literature for awakening the Kundalini Shakti. Remaining in this posture for a long time awakens the dormant Shakti. Techniques in Padma Asana or Sukha Asana. Hold the hands back and raise as much as possible. While exhaling, slowly bend forward, bringing the forehead to the floor. Remain in this posture as long as you feel comfortable. Inhale and assume the original sitting posture. Repeat thrice.
Synchronization of BreathWhile bending forward breathe out and have outer retention in the final posture. While raising the head up, breathe in. Benefits of Yoga Mudra Asana Raising the hands up expands the chest and increases the range of shoulder movements.
The pressure of the folded hands and bending forward stimulates the pancreas, liver, and spleen. Ensures suppleness of the spine increases digestive power, prevents pot belly, removes fat, eliminates constipation, and improves blood circulation to the head, and activates the subconscious mind to focus the attention on one of the benefits of this asana.
Suitability Suitable for all, except those suffering from high blood pressure, who should avoid doing this.

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