Vrikshasana (Tree pose)

The Sanskrit word vriksha means “tree” and asana meaning “pose”.  It is a balancing asana and a standing meditative pose as per hatha yoga philosophy.

How to perform? 

Stand straight with your feet together, bring your hands to the center of the chest and join your palms for namaste mudra.

Without bending your spine, bend your right leg from the knee and raise towards your right side. Activate the quadriceps to straighten the left leg then place the sole of the right foot on the root of the inner left thigh.

Maintain your balance and stand on your left leg. If you are afraid of falling down (at the beginning stage) then take the support of a chair or wall or pillar near to you.

Inhale and raise your hands above your head, extend your back slightly and keep your gaze to a point in front of you.

Press the palms of the hands together evenly and follow the normal breathing process throughout this practice.

Exhale and release the right leg and bring back to the starting position. Repeat the same on the other side.

Limitations -: People suffering from knee and lower back problems should not practice this asana and in case of high blood pressure one should avoid raising the arms.

Duration of Practice -: Start with 30 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 5 minutes.

Stimulating Charka -: This asana activates the Muladhara chakra and promotes concentration, calmness of mind, confidence and energy circulation.

Benefits –:

It strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet as well as tones the entire standing leg from toes to the buttocks. Because it activates the shinbone, fibula and small bones inside the feet of the standing leg by spreading the weight across the balls of the foot.

It provides good stretches to the groins and inner thighs and alleviates pain in the case of sciatica.

It tones the abdominal muscles, stretches and strengthens the torso, shoulders and neck muscles. When you extend and raise your hands above the head to a namaste position, you will stimulate the meridians at your abdominal region as well as at the torso and shoulder joints.

Regular practice of this asana is beneficial to improve your concentration by focusing continuously to a point in front of you to maintain your balance.

Bandha Hasta Utthanasana (Locked-hand raising pose)

The Sanskrit word Bandha means “lock” hasta meaning “Hand,” and utthana meaning “upward stretch,” and asana meaning “pose”.  It is an upward stretching pose with incredible benefits.

How to perform?

Stand straight and keep a minimum distance of 12 inches between your legs.

Relax and equally distribute your body weight with your feet.

Cross your hands in front of your body. (It is the starting position)

Inhale and raise your hands above your head and heels from the floor.

Keep your elbows straight and push your arms slightly behind your ears.

Breathe normally and stay at this position as long as possible.

Then exhale and lower down your hands and heels to starting position.

Bring your hands to the respective sides of your body.

Repeat this practice for 5 times.

Limitations -: People suffering from cervical spondylitis, frozen shoulders, and neck injury should practice under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher. People with high blood pressure and other heart-related disease are not supposed to raise the heel during practice.

Duration of Practice -: 1-minute stay at the beginning and then increase gradually up to 3 minutes.

Stimulating Charka -: Muladhara Chakra (Pelvic Plexus), Swadhisthana Chakra (Hypogastric Plexus), Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus), Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra).

Benefits –: 

Removes stiffness from shoulders, upper back, upper arms, and elbows.

It stimulates the muscles of the heart and improves the blood circulation in the body. As an advanced practitioner, when you stand on your toes and stretch your hands above your head, it will work on the viscera, especially the digestive organs. The stretching effect tones the abs and improves the digestive functions and circulatory system.

It improves breathing capacity by stretching/expanding the lungs. Improved blood circulation provides an extra supply of oxygen to the whole body as well as the brain. During the practice, the arms are raised up, the upper part of the spine and lungs are stretched to the fullest length. It supports to expand and open the Chest. The enlargement of the chest allows you to take deeper breaths that increase the oxygen flow in the body, necessary for proper metabolism. Thus, the body energizes itself for growth and vitality.

It reduces stress and anxiety. The increased oxygen flow to lungs and heart activates/stimulates the Anahata Chakra. As per Kundalini yoga philosophy, activation of Anahata chakra develops qualities like- love, compassion, harmony, empathy to human life.

It is an excellent asana for growing kids to increase their height. When you standing on the toes and stretch out your hands above your head, you will increase your height by stretching the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones of your body.

Padahastasana (Hand under foot pose)

The Sanskrit words pada meaning “foot”, hasta meaning “hand”, and asana meaning “posture”. Padahastasana is a standing, inverted asana where the hands are stretched down to grasp the feet.

How to perform?

Stand straight with your feet together and place your palms gently on the thighs.

Ground your feet firmly on the mat, relax your body. (starting position)

Inhale and raise your hands above your head with fingers pointing towards the sky.

Lift your knees cap and contract your thigh muscles, keeping the legs completely straight then exhale and bend forward from the hip joint

Keep your arms straight and beside your ears throughout the movement.

Lengthen your spine and bend forward in such a way that your hands, head, and torso should look like a unit.

Try to bring your forehead near to the knees, your torso near to the thighs and arms hanging straight downward.

To complete padahastasana, touch your toes with your fingers or catch your ankles with your fingers or place the palms under the sole of your foot.

To come out from the final pose to starting position, first, you lift up the forehead and then the hands. Inhale slowly then lift your body up with keeping your hands straight beside your ear.

Once you stand straight, exhale slowly, bring down your hands and place your palms gently on the thighs.

Repeat this practice 10 times.

Note: It is a difficult posture for many in the beginning. So, you may bend your knee a little and rest your hands gently upon your ankles or catch your big toe. Regular practice will help you to attain the full pose.

Limitations -: People suffering from back pain, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, knee problems, sciatica, hernia should not practice this asana.

Duration of Practice -: Start with 10 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 2 minutes.

Stimulating Charka -: Muladhara Chakra (Pelvic Plexus), Swadhisthana Chakra (Hypogastric Plexus).

Benefits-:

It helps to increase the flexibility of ligaments and tendons at the deepest level and tone up your body.

It is a highly effective asana for removing abdominal fat and toning of the abdominal organs.

As it stretches the pelvic region and creates compression in the abdominal cavity, it greatly alleviates conditions like constipation, indigestion and other gastric troubles.

With keeping the legs straight when you bend forward from the hip, there will a good stretch to your calf, hamstring and quadricep muscles which in turn increase the strength and flexibility of these muscles. A sharp bend and stretch of the spine from the tailbone increases the suppleness of the spine and make it more resilient.

Regular practice improves the functional capacity of the intestines, stomach, pancreas, kidney, liver, and spleen and tones the abdominal region by removing unnecessary fat.

It improves the functions of the nervous system with the circulation of more the blood towards the upper parts of the body, especially to the neurons.

It helps to improve the balance and flexibility of the whole body.

It supports to increase height, as it creates good stretch for all major joints, muscles, and ligaments from toes to the neck.

Trikonasana (The triangle pose)

The Sanskrit word trikona means “triangle” and asana meaning “pose”. This asana resembles a triangle.

How to perform?

Stand straight and keep a minimum distance of 3 to 4 feet between your legs.

Turn your left foot out to 90 degrees and right foot slightly inside.

Inhale and raise your arms both sides to your shoulder level, keeping the palms towards the floor. (Starting position)

Exhale, extend your left hand towards your left side then bend your body from the hip without pushing your body forward. Once your finger reaches near the foot, place your palm above your feet.

As a beginner, you may place your hand anywhere below the knee.

Then turn your head upward and look at the middle of your right hand.

Breathe normally and stay at this final position as long as you are comfortable.

Inhale slowly and come back to the starting position then repeat the same from the right side.

Repeat this practice for 5 times.

Limitations -: People suffering from a heart ailment, lower back problems, peptic ulcer, and hernia should not practice this asana.

Duration of Practice -: Start with 30 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 3 minutes.

Stimulating Charka -: Muladhara Chakra (Pelvic Plexus), Swadhisthana Chakra (Hypogastric Plexus), Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus), Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra).

Benefits –:

This asana stretches and strengthens feet’s, ankles, legs, calf muscles, hamstrings, and hips. As the front knee is extended, and the weight of the torso falls mostly over the front leg. The principle which works here is that of muscle co-contraction. During the stay at the final position, most of the bodyweight falls on the feet and legs, which in return strengthens the lower extremities.

Removes stiffness of the spine and improves the functions of the abdominal viscera. An upward-facing head and a straight-line bend of downward-facing body stimulate the torso as well as the spine.

Extremally good asana for people suffering from diabetes, overweight and obesity. It helps to burn/reduce fat from the waist and abdominal region. Stretch at the abdominal cavity and chest cavity from different angles increases the digestive fire and stimulates major endocrine and exocrine glands to secrete an adequate quantity of hormones.

Reduces extra fats from the waist zone. When you twist your spine and actively lengthen the back-leg and hip, it stimulates these regions.

It improves the functional capacity of the nervous system. Gravitational pressure to the torso from the lower side at the same time sharp bend and stretch from the upper side stimulates and improves the functional capacity of all neurons and meridians.

This asana stimulation Muladhara chakra and Swadhisthana chakra. As gonads, digestive organs, adrenal glands are connected to this chakra, improves their functional capacity and support the body to reduce digestive disorder and to control blood pressure level. Similarly, stimulation to Anahata chakra activates the circulatory system and thymus gland which improves the functional capacity of the heart, lungs.

Utakatasana (The Chair pose)

The Sanskrit word utkaṭa meaning “heavy” / “gigantic” and asana meaning “posture” / “seat”. This asana resembles a modern chair.

How to perform? 

Stand straight with your feet together.

Keep your spine, neck, and head in one line and arms by the sides. (Staring position)

Inhale and raise your arms above your head into a namaste position.

Exhale, bend your knees without pushing your body forward and bring your pelvis down like sitting on a chair.

Then bring your thighs as parallel to the floor.

Breathe normally and stay at this final position as long as you are comfortable.

Inhale slowly and come back to the starting position.

Repeat this practice for 5-10 times.

Limitations -: People suffering from knee and lower back problems should not practice this asana.

Duration of Practice -: Start with 15 seconds in the beginning and increase gradually up to 1 minute.

Stimulating Charka -: Muladhara Chakra (Pelvic Plexus).

Benefits –:

It strengthens ankles, leg muscles, hip flexors and helps to reduce symptoms of flat feet.

Removes stiffness and improves the flexibility of knees and hip joints.

Tones/reduce extra fat from thighs and hips.

Gives good stretches to chest and shoulders muscles

It stimulates the Muladhara chakra (Coccyx region) and improves the functional capacity of nerve tissues which is connected throughout the body. Because when you bend your knees by keeping the pelvic region parallel to the floor, you will engage and stretch the flexor muscles (thigh and shine bone area).

A regular practice will not only increase the functional capacity of these muscles but also reduce the extra fat.

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