Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
The Sanskrit word prasarita means “spread apart”, pada means “foot”, uttana means “intense stretch” and asana meaning “pose”.
How to perform?
Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, feet parallel with toes slightly turned outwards. (Starting position)
Place your hands on the waist, keep the knees soft then extend the trunk and pull-in the abdomen.
Exhale, and slowly bend forward from the hips.
Release your hands from the waist and catch your big toes. (1st method)
Release your hands from waist and place on the mat in line with the feet, then try to place your head on the mat. (2nd method)
Release your hands from the waist and simultaneously extend the arms behind the back, interlock the fingers then raise the arms as high as possible without strain. (3rd method)
Remain at the final position as much as possible then return to the starting position.
Practice 3 to 5 times.
Limitations -: People suffering from knee problems, slipped discs, ankle or shoulder injury and women during pregnancy should avoid practicing this asana.
Duration of Practice -: Start with 30 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 2 minutes.
Stimulating Charka -: This asana activates Muladhara chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, (Sacral plexus), Mipura Chakra (Solar Plexus), Ajna Chaka (Inner eye) and Sahasrara Chakra (Crown chakra)
It gives an extremely good stretch to the lower body. Placement of feet’s far away from each other stretches the hamstrings and the body has to work extra to create balance as well as opening the hip flexors, knees, thighs, groin, lower back.
It helps to subdue lower Backache, sciatica, and slipped disc. As the stretching and pulling of the hamstrings and hip flexors also stretch the spine and stimulates the meridian in the back, it increases the flow of blood in that region which helps in removing the pain or blockages.
During the stay at the final position, the forward bending of the torso helps in massaging the organs of the abdominal region. So, it improves the digestion process and removes constipation.
As, it is an inverted posture, the flow of blood increases towards the crown. At the same time compression at the abdominal region and extremely good stretch at the lower part of the body activates all chakras/energy centers of the body.
Beginners can practice this pose as a preparatory pose for other inversion poses like- sirsasana (Headstand) and other promising/similar poses.
Hastapadangustasana (Toe-finger Pose)
The Sanskrit word Hasta means “hand”, padangusta means “toes”, and asana meaning “pose”.
How to perform?
Stand straight with your feet together, chest thrown forward and straight hands at the sides. (starting position)
Exhale and raise the left leg straight as high as possible without bending your knees.
Balance your body on the right leg, place your right hand at your waist and stretch out your left hand and grasp
your big toe with your fingers.
You may suspend your breath and stay at this final position as per your comfortability.
Regular practice will help you to change breathing pattern as per the need of your movements.
You may bring variations after a thorough practice by raising your leg sideward instead of forward.
To come back to starting position, exhale and release your toe from your fingers.
Repeat 3 to 5 times with each leg.
Tip for beginners – It is quite difficult to get into the final position at the beginning. So, beginners can bend their knees a bit and can take the support of a wall or chair to practice for a longer duration.
Limitations -: People suffering from Knee problems, lower back, ankle problems, should avoid practicing this asana.
Duration of Practice -: Start with 10 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 1 minute.
Stimulating Charka -: This asana activates Muladhara chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, (Sacral plexus), Manipur Chakra (Solar Plexus).
Excellent posture to strengthen the legs and ankles. As per the name this asana, it actively and engages the legs from toes to the thigh joint and stimulates the muscles and ligaments. Because to maintain an active and balanced body, one needs to keep all organs, joints, limbs in a healthy state.
It helps to improve the digestion process. When you raise one leg, flexion of your hip followed by exhalation increases the abdominal compression, gives a good massage to the lower part of the abdominal region. Thus, it cures constipation and improves digestion.
It improves the beauty and life-line. When you stay at the final position the intra-abdominal presser increases and stretches the love handles to a great extent. Repeated and alternate movement of legs stretches the love hands and reduces the fat from those areas. Thus, a reduced waistline brings beauty to the body and improves the functional capacity of major organs located in these areas.
It develops higher levels of concentration and focus, which supports to practice more complicated asanas and a deeper level of meditation.
Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
The Sanskrit word Garuda means “Bird” (A white-faced, carrion-eating bird (also known as King of birds and vehicle of Lord Vishnu) having a powerful hooked bill and keen vision) and asana meaning “pose”.
How to perform?
Stand straight with your feet together, raise your arms straight at shoulder level, parallel to the floor with palms facing upward. (starting pose)
Raise your right foot while balancing the body on your left foot, cross your right thigh over the left. Point your right toes toward the floor and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower left calf.
Once you feel comfortable, slightly bend your knees.
Now, cross the arms in front of your chest so that the right arm will stay above the left, then bend your elbows. As much as possible join your palms in such a way to form a namaste mudra. Keep the spine erect.
Keep your gaze to a point in front of you and breathe normally throughout this practice.
To return to the starting position, gently release the arms lock and then the legs. Take a few deep breaths then practice from the other side by interchanging the position of legs and arms.
Practice repeatedly 3 to 5 times.
Limitations -: People suffering from knee problems, lower back issues, ankle or shoulder injury, and women during pregnancy should avoid practicing this asana.
Duration of Practice -: Start with 15 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 1 minute.
Stimulating Charka -: This asana activates Muladhara chakra and Ajna Chaka (Inner eye).
Regular practice and right attention will improve flexibility and strengthens the ankles and calves, thighs, hips, elbows, shoulders, and upper back.
It Improves concentration and sense of balance.
Gives good massage to male reproductive organs.
Helpful to control urinary problems.
Beneficial in case of sciatica and rheumatism in leg joints.
Regular practice of this asana helps to increase the suppleness of various joints like- shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankle by stretching and flexing the ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
It improves the immunity system. when you twist the legs and lower down your hip slightly, this asana ignites the root chakra which is at the base of the spine. At the same time, an erected and upward stretched spine and arms gives a good massage to your abdomen, torso, and vertebra. Thus, improves blood circulation and functional capacity on neurons. These functions are key for boosting immunity levels.