Basic Yoga Postures And Their Variations


1. THE COBRA Do this in easy stages. Lie down, face prone, legs tightly together and stretched back, forehead on the floor. Put your hands, palm down, just under your shoulders. Inhale and raise your head, pressing your neck back, now use your hands to push your trunk up until you are bending in a beautiful arc from your lower spine to the back of your neck. You need go no further than this. However, if you are supple enough, you can now straighten your arms completely, bend the legs at the knees and drop your head back to touch your feet. Even if your head goes nowhere near your feet, drop it back as far as possible and hold the posture with deep breathing. Come out of the posture very slowly, returning to the face prone posture. Relax with your head to one side. Repeat.

2. THE BOW This is also an extreme version of the simple bow. It is surprising how many children can do it immediately. Take it, once again, in easy stages. Lie face prone on your mat. If you are very slim have a nice thick, padded mat for this one. Inhale and bend your knees up. Stretch back with your arms and catch hold of your ankles, keeping fingers and thumbs all together on the outside. Inhale and at the same time raise your head and chest, pulling at your ankles and lifting knees and thighs off the floor. Breathe normally, trying to kick up your legs higher and lifting your head up. You are now bent like a bow, balancing the weight of your body on your abdomen. You can stop right here but if you can still stretch further, then slide your hands down your legs, lift them higher, keep the knees together and pull back as much as you can. Hold for a few normal deep breaths, then relax back to the face-prone position, head to one side.

3. THE SHOOTING BOW In Sanskrit this is known as Akarna Dhanurasana and one leg is drawn up like a shooting bow. Sit with both legs stretched out in front and back straight. Reach forward with both hands and clasp your feet, catching the right foot with the left hand and the left foot with the right hand. Inhale, bend the left knee and pull the foot across the body, close to your chest, pointing the elbow up and twisting the body slightly to the right. The left hand stays firm and tight, holding the right foot. Hold posture with normal breathing, release slowly, and relax. Repeat on other side. In the beginning it is enough to hold the bent left leg with the right hand. When this is easy, stretch down and hold the left foot with the right hand. Continue to pull on the left foot, lifting it higher on each exhalation.

History of Yoga


Yoga began in India 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit language and means, to join or integrate, or simply union. Yoga started, as far as we know, as part of India’s philosophical system, but not everyone practiced yoga, and it has never been a religion.

About 5 million people in the United States do some yoga. Dance and stretching exercise classes usually have parts and pieces that come directly from yoga. If you ever go to a physical therapist, he or she may give you therapeutic exercises that are yoga postures.

There are several types of yoga. The yoga you may have seen on TV or taught at your local Y or an adult education class is called hatha yoga, or physical yoga. Sometimes it’s known as the yoga for health. You may also find yoga being taught in a hospital or medical setting. Many health professionals today feel yoga can be part of a treatment plan.

Hatha yoga has three parts: a series of exercises or movements called asana (poses or postures in English), breathing techniques of all kinds, and relaxation.

Pain Relief and Yoga


Are you in pain? If you are, then you will be glad to hear that there is another pain relief option available to you – Yoga. A lot of individuals suffering from any kind of pain are now turning to alternative methods to relieve pain. They have grown tired of using medicines or drugs which oftentimes have undesirable side effects.

A great number of people are suffering from chronic pain and for quite some time now, they were able to spend a huge amount of money in purchasing pain relievers. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get rid of pain. Read on and you will find out how to naturally address your body aches in an inexpensive way.

Perhaps you’re already familiar with meditation. People who are suffering from pain can benefit greatly from mind and body medicine. Through centuries, meditation was used by people to achieve a relaxed state of mind and body. It is truly an effective tool in relieving pain. Aside from relieving pain, meditation can also maintain your overall health and it helps in boosting the body’s resistance against diseases.

If you want to cope with pain, try meditation now. Meditation techniques are now being taught in some clinics all over the world. Stress is a very common cause of pain which can lead to headaches, eczema, arthritis, back pains, and other health conditions. Meditation can also work for almost anything especially if you do it right.

The body produces endorphins and this hormone is said to give humans a good feeling. It is also helps in alleviating stress and in reducing pain. Through meditation, the production of endorphins is enhanced so you will soon feel better.

When you’re meditating, your brain is in a coherent and synchronous state. Large quantities of endorphins are produced so you will feel good. You will be at peace. It’s easier to feel happy and connected to your body and mind.

Pleasurable experiences stimulate the brain and because of this fact, it will be easier to overcome pain and depression. Yoga meditation makes use of different techniques and you can choose only the ones you prefer.

Breathing is usually the initial step to achieve awareness. Breathing patterns are followed to provide body relaxation. When the breathing rate is slowed down, your body will also calm down and relax. If your body is relaxed, you will also feel less pain.

When meditating, you will also ponder on the realities of life and its ever changing concepts. You must be able to understand yourself in order to view things differently. When your perspectives are changed, you will also begin to deal with problems or pain effectively. Inner peace is achieved and you will feel more in control of your life. Emotional transformation can improve your overall health and it helps in reducing physical symptoms and pain.

Pain and anxiety can also be effectively addressed through visualization techniques. You will simply imagine a relaxing and pleasant place or activity from your past. By doing so, you will feel calm and relaxed thereby reducing pain.

Through meditation, chi or prana flows through your body giving you more energy. Such energy can be directed to improve health conditions and relieve pain. Yoga meditation has its benefits and for centuries, people have already proved its efficacy. Learn the various yoga meditation techniques now and use it as a pain relief tool.

The Principles of Yoga


How to look at the world upside down

We are going to show you how to reverse aging effects, and increase life through yoga practices, as well as teach you how to improve your overall health.

When one reverses yoga, he must make sense of the turning points. To make sense of the turning points one will gravitate in the direction of the sixth reversal workouts.

Yogin philosophers came up with the notion that if one reverses his or her action that this one could live longer and happier. Considering gravity alone can help you appreciate how reversal yoga works. For instance, our thoughts may gravitate, which the seriousness of what we gravitate toward (Worry, Doubt, Fear, Stress, etc) presents serious consequence, such as that of serious behaviors. At this state, the mind is controlled by emotions, which become heavy from its negativity. The quality of one’s life starts to diminish.

As the emotions soar, the mind fills with hidden implications that bury self in the subconscious mind. Thus, the mind starts to play tricks. At this point one could fall prey of making a commitment or admission. (Now you see where drunkenness, drugs, etc, come into play) The gravity of the mind is powerful and can either destroy or heal the soul. When one carries a full load, something has to give. Yoga gives us the option of tearing down the walls that trap the mind and body.

As you see from in the punch line, aging, poor health, and shorten lifespan is the goal for those who do not take control over the body and mind. To start however, one must learn to master breathing, control the body, and gain energy.

Reversal Yoga:
Reversal yoga is the process of changing into an opposite direction. The brain requires fresh blood to eliminate stress, fatigue, etc. When one turns his or her self upside down, thus lymph and blood travels new cells along the paths to the brain, which bam, you have refreshed energy.

My philosophy is “Don’t just stand there, bust a move.” Of course, MC Hammer is the artist of this title, yet it plays a part in all areas of our life. In one does not put forth action, one cannot expect rewards.

Now we act on our words:
Yoga helps us through the process of reversal by elevating the legs, placing them on a chair. In summary, you back will rest on the floor, arms out straight and your legs rested in a chair. Yogi and Yogini, begins: Sit on a flat surface, such as the floor. At first sit in a basic cross-leg arrangement and face the chair. Lean back onto the floor, resting with your forearms supporting you on the floor:

Next, glide the buttocks parallel to the floor and move the buttocks in the direction of the chair. Continue until your buttocks are at the edge of the chair.

In position, exhale and lift the feet. The notion is to place the feet in place, which includes your calves and heels, thus making sure they rest on the seat of your chair. Your knees should be as close to the edge of the seat as feasible. Now, lie back. Rest your back on the floor and place your arms at your side. The palms should be resting on the floor. You can start counting to ten at this point, relax, and repeat the procedure again if you like. As you practice the reversal method, make sure that you focus on your breathing, and the parts of your body you put in place.

Hold Position in Yoga


After trying the Lotus, I noted that if you are short and are not accustom in performing stretch exercises that make the body limber, you might have difficulty performing the action to its fullest. Therefore, before you try this yoga method you will need to conduct a few exercises to loosen up the body.

Lotus includes the full lotus, half lotus, and perfect posture, easy cross-legged, kneeling, etc. The full lotus position requires that you sit in the floor, posture straight, and then stretch the legs in front of you. Next, you will bend the right knee and position the foot readying it to rest on the right thigh. The left leg follows pursuit. Once you are positioned, the heels should be resting against the abdominal. The palms of the hands should follow, by resting them on the upper knee area, and circling the thumbs and pointing finger. In position, the posture must always remain straight.

Many people may find this method difficult, which brings in the half lotus. The half lotus is similar, only the left knee is bent, and rests beneath the right thigh and as close to the rear as feasible. The right knee bends, and places the right foot at the top section of the right thigh. The knees are to rest on the floor at all times.

To perform lotus and half lotus we recommend that you perform stretch exercises to make the body supple. In the meantime, you can perform yoga, such as the cross leg position. The cross leg requires that you sit in the floor, posture straight and with the legs in front of you, start to cross them. The knees should be rested on the ground and in alignment with the trunk, neck, and head. Make sure the feet are beneath the knees. Now, rest the palms of your hands (Down) on the tips of your knees. Keep the posture straight.

The goal of lotus is to teach you to relax the mind and body while working toward healing. The posture becomes your symbol in that you stabilize the posture while securely sitting upright and keeping the body motionless for ten minutes or longer without feeling uncomfortable.

The; posture sets the foundation for mediation. Once you straighten the posture, you will begin yoga by focusing on your breathing. The goal is to achieve natural breathing habits. You should never control or force your breathing, rather allow your natural breathing to control you. When focusing on breathing learn to breathe through the nose. You will need to permit your breathing to flow naturally, steady, and according to your minds will to permit breathing. You mind will start to relax. Never interrupt breathing patterns during yoga.

Next, you will start the mediation process. The goal is to focus and become aware by focusing on a single object of choice. Once you are prepared, you will next image hymns, sounds, images, etc. You can also become aware of external or internal environments, and allow the mind to focus on the moment. Once in position allow the mind to function at its own will without interrupted thoughts that flow freely.

Move to your attitude. In this moment, you will learn to allow your thoughts to roam. Instead of suppressing relentless thoughts that rush through your mind, allow them to roam freely. The notion is to become comfortable with your discomforts. Once you allow the thoughts to flow at their own will, you can then focus on mediation. Finally, allow your spiritual flowers bloom as they unfold before you eyes.

Hatha Yoga


Hatha yoga is an ancient hindu system of working with the human nervous system. Because it releases tension and endows one with renewed energy, far too many 20th century people, yoga teachers included, have come to look upon the venerable Indian physical science as solely an exercise for health and vitality of mind and body. It is that, but it is also much more. Hatha yoga practices are more spiritual than physical, more subtle than gross, more a means of understanding than an exotic way to relieve stress or limber up the body.

The sages who developed hatha yoga designed it as a way to gain conscious control of our life energies, a way to go within, to harmonize the external so the innermost Self could be encountered. To them, it was about states of consciousness, about living a divine life, and it was a preparation for meditation.

As you perform the asanas, concentrate on feeling the energies within the nerve currents. Sensitize yourself to knowing when the body has been in each position long enough to tune the nerve currents involved. Then shift smoothly into the next asana. It’s like a dance, a deliberate, fluid dance. During all postures, inhale using the diaphragm, not the chest muscles. Do not stretch unduly or force the body. Relax into the poses. Don’t worry if you can’t perform them all perfectly. In time, you will find the body becoming more flexible and supple. Free the mind of thoughts and tensions. You will be more aware, more alive, more serene.

While there are many more complex hatha yoga routines, these twenty-four asanas provide a balanced system for daily use. For the simple purpose of quieting the mind in preparation for meditation, this is all you will ever need. For best results, hatha yoga should be taught personally by a qualified teacher. These instructions and drawings are meant only as a rudimentary aid. For more elaborate regimens, inquire at a recognized school specializing in hatha yoga.

The scene of hatha yoga has a spiritual purpose – to balance physical and physic energies in preparation for meditation. It is not only meant to make us young, beautiful or creative, but to aid us in quieting the mind, body and emotions that we may awaken enlightened consciousness & know the Self within.

Learning How To Practice Yoga


Today, people believe that yoga is all about experiencing pure ecstasy through the union of the mind, the soul, and the body. But most yoga practitioners and teachers would agree that apart from providing relaxation and peace, learning how to practice yoga is about the seemingly limitless capability of a person to be in control and unite with him or her inner self.

Many yoga practitioners believe that in one way or another, the ancient discipline makes it possible for the breath, the mind, and the senses to unite in creating balance. As defined, the word “yoga” is a Sanskrit term which means “union or joining.” It is considered as almost an ambiguous term because it encompasses a wide range of purely physical disciplines to purely spiritual.

Because of its benefits, more and more people across the globe are showing interests in learning yoga. Many are planning to learn yoga as a form of exercise while others want to use it as a way to relieve stress. Whatever your reasons behind learning yoga, it shouldn’t be as confusing as it seems because you don’t need to learn all the concepts and philosophies behind it.

Getting started with yoga

Many people practice yoga for so many reasons. Many want to explore its almost limitless possibilities as an ancient philosophy while others want to delve into its depths as a meditative practice or for pure spiritual discipline. And for some, they want to use its philosophies as an exercise for you to be fit and healthy. But, no matter what the reasons of people are, understanding the main objectives and the level of interest is a must to be able to find the right yoga program to suit the needs of a certain individual.

The first thing that you have to bear in mind before you totally indulge in practicing yoga is setting and determining your goals. You can do this by knowing first what are the possible health and fitness benefits you can get from yoga. Most yoga practitioners agree that the potential benefits of yoga may include the increase of strength and flexibility, creation of balance as well as the improvement of breathing and overall posture. On the spiritual aspect, yoga can serve as an exercise that can help you soothe your nerves, calm your mind while increasing your focal and concentration skills.

Next, undergo a general check-up. This is a sort of “SOP” before you begin practicing yoga or any type of exercise program for that matter. A check-up is important for you do discuss with your physician the advantages and disadvantages of yoga in your total health and well being. Since yoga involves physical endurance, you might also want to visit an orthopedic before you undergo a class to avoid possible injuries.

Before you start learning yoga, you must make sure that you have a good yoga instructor who can attend to your needs, you are aware of your physical and emotional limitations, and you know when is the best time suitable for you to practice yoga. It would also be best if you begin with the easy yoga poses before slowly advancing to the difficult positions and that you wear the right kind of clothes and that you have the yoga equipment you need like mats, foam blocks, and yoga pillows.

Twisting With Yoga


You won’t need to shout aloud when you twist with yoga. Yoga makes it easy to by forcing Yogi and Yogini into visualizing their spine as the sponge. Yogic practices are outlined in a selection of new and old editions. Many writers have edited Tibet, India, Hindu, and related scrolls to deliver modern practices. Occidental nations practice yoga daily, since the exercises help one to find a peace of mind. Each revision however is changed to draw out the meaning of religious beliefs.

According to the logic of yoga, twisting the spine symbolically like a sponge will clean the discs while assisting Yogi and Yogini to discover unlimited flexibility and firmness. In addition, yoga reasons that twist yogic methods will pamper the spine, internal organs, etc. Yoga reasons believe that twist yogic methods drive inner fire and stretches, reclines and places emphasis on areas of the spine that promote good health. Now that you have a background let’s see how it works.

How to do the Easy Chair Twist:
Prepare a sturdy chair and sit your buttocks down sideways. Next, place your feet flat on the floor and direct your heels below the knees. Exhale…and then turn your body to the right, as you grip the side of the chair. Inhale, and extend the spine uphill. Exhale and move to twist the trunk (torso) and your head toward the right. Exhale as you repeat the steps and gradually elongate the body as far as it will allot. Count eight times as you breathe naturally. Next, follow the same procedure on the opposite side. (Left)

I don’t know about you but writing yoga is wearing me out. I am sure your practice is making room for fatigue. Therefore, let’s remove some of the fatigue and perform the easy sit twist.

Easy Sit Twist:
Sit on the floor. Cross your legs in a straightforward position and extend the spine uphill. You should be sitting tall. Next, position your hand so that you are in motion to place the palms down on your right knee. Inhale and then extend the spine uphill. Exhale, and move to twist the trunk and heard so that it turns right. Repeat the steps and twist as far as your body will allot each time. Hold your stance and count up to eight breathes. Next, move to position and perform the steps on the opposite side.

Ok, you probably feel good about now, so let’s do the sage twist. Ready? Position your body so that you are seated on the floor. Extend both legs in front of you and bend your knee. (Right) position the right foot so that it is on the floor and inside your thigh. (Left) Next, pay attention to your toes, they should be facing toward the front of you. Position your hand behind you so that your palms are down on the floor and wrap the palm one hand (left) about the right knee. Inhale and stretch the spine uphill, exhale and twist your trunk. Your head should twist as well. Finish with repeating the steps on the opposite side after your count to eight breathes.

Good, you have completed another of yogic methods that will promote good health. The next exercise we will not complete. The Bent leg is the supine twist in yogic practices, which derive from the term parivartanasana. The word in English means to turn, or turning. The leg twist is designed to boost energy in your back area, rather spine. The yogic method helps to strengthen the spine and remove pain, stress, etc. Practice it and you will do well.

Perfect Truths About Yoga


Turbaned gurus, sing-song mantras and bodily contortions . . . the promise of true enlightenment and omphaloskepsis (contemplation of the naval) completes the cliche. But don’t knock yoga till you’ve tried it, and then only with respect.

Yoga means to bind together — variously joining sun and moon, left and right, male and female, and any number of yins and yangs — through ascetic techniques of meditation and exercise. The goal is physical and mental balance.

Indian Hatha’ yoga is best known to Westerners. Double-jointedness isn’t a prerequisite, but the classic lotus position, cross-legged on the floor, soles-up on the inner thigh, either comes naturally or doesn’t.

Then there are more magical/mystical varieties of yoga for which people quit jobs and polite society and retreat to the Himalayas. But not everyone follows a spiritual guide beyond the Beltway; they’d rather take up the discipline at a local ashram or the Y.

Committed practitioners claim yoga leads to intuitive awareness, spiritual harmony, perfect concentration. Others use it to lose weight or quit smoking. Some just like the lift they get from yoga asanas (positions) better than breaking into a sweat with pushups. In any case, it can’t hurt, if done in moderation and with proper guidance.

Beginners Yoga Video Offers Good Instruction


Trying to find well-produced fitness videos that are truly suitable for beginners can be a daunting challenge.

Most tapes these days aim at intermediate exercisers, the ones who know a grapevine from a box step and a lateral raise from a biceps curl. These tapes may offer a few easier moves here and there, but the instruction clearly is geared to people who already know what to do.

The few tapes that are marketed for beginners often are unspeakably repetitive, as if flabby muscles always mean a flabby brain. And too often, they provide no way to add extra challenge or difficulty to the routine, as if beginning exercisers are going to remain beginners forever.

It’s nice, then, to discover Yoga Zone: Flexibility and Tone, a beginners’ tape that offers the depth of instruction and easy pace that true beginners need.

The instructor here is Alan Finger, a genial-looking middle-aged man who wears a polo shirt, rolled-up cotton pants and a chin-length bob. His physique is not the standard chiseled form of exercise videos; he looks as if he might carry a few extra pounds around the middle.

But he has a lovely voice (with a hint of a brogue) and a calm manner, two essentials for a yoga tape, where relaxation is key.

And he has a true gift for instruction, combining the nuts-and-bolts details of positioning with what it feels like to stretch and balance.

When he describes how the muscles of the feet ought to rotate through to the little toe, you’ll know — and be able to feel — just what he’s talking about.

But each move contains so many of these instructions that it can be a little overwhelming to try to master all of them at once.

If you have tried yoga before, you’ll recognize some of them — the down-on-all-fours stretch called the cat, the inverted V that forms the down dog, and the corpse, which requires little more than lying flat on one’s back, completely relaxed.

In another nod to beginners, Finger also provides true modifications and tips for those who may not be as flexible as they’d like.

Finger shows how a folded blanket can be placed under the knees or for better support while performing seated postures. A folded towel also is used for several poses, although Finger doesn’t announce that in advance.

The 50-minute session ends with stretching and relaxation, set to gentle New Age music that might lull you to sleep.