Sunday, February 22, 2015

Siddhasana - How to practice it

Siddhasana also known as Ardha Padmasana  got its name from sanskrit words "Siddha" means "perfect" and "asana" means "pose".  

Siddhasana and padmasana are the two asanas traditionally used for Dhyana or meditation and breathing exercises.  Siddhasana is one of the most important asanas whose practice purifies the 72,000 nadis in the body.    The Siddhasana improves the flexibility of your hips, knees, and ankles and strengthens the back.  This posture is considered as the perfect meditation posture.  Here is the method to practice Siddhasana.

Steps to practice Siddhasana

  • Sit on the floor with legs close to each other
  • Now take the left foot and place it at he perineum.
  • Now take the right foot and place it over the left foot
  • To make the posture steadier, slide the right foot toes into the space between the left calf muscles. This may require some adjustment to the position. It is like creating a lock, so that the lower body is stable for long durations of meditation.
  • The knees should touch the floor.  Make your spine straight now
  • The chin can press against the chest.
  • Gaze at the space between the eyebrows. And become aware of your breathing process. The breathing can be natural and deep. One may also practice Ujjayi breathing according to one’s meditation technique.
  • The hands can be kept on the knees. One may assume the Chin Mudra or the Jnana Mudra with the fingers, if one wishes.
  • Maintain this position for as long as you are comfortable.

Benefits of Siddhasana

  1. Siddhasana is one of the main poses used for meditation. One can maintain this position for a long duration. Those who have difficulty practicing Padmasana can easily practice Siddhasana for extended periods. This asana holds the spinal column straight and steady.
  2. In Siddhasana, the heel is kept pressed against the Mooladharachakra. This ensures that the energy currents flow upwards towards the spine.
  3. The position of the heels also stimulates the lower two chakrasMooladhara and Swadhistana. The sexual energy is channelized upwards and converted into subtle energy called ‘ojas’.
  4. It also gives the practitioner control over his sex urge and the sexual functions.
  5. In Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, it is said that Siddhasana stabilizes the nervous system by calming down the pranic energy.
Here is a video on how to practice Siddhasana.....

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Swastikasana - How to practice

Swastikasana or the Auspicious Pose is a very easy yoga pose for those who can not attempt the more difficult asanas like padmasana and siddhasana.  The Indian symbol of Swastika is a symbol o fauspiciousness.  The position of legs in the Swastikasana resemble the symbol of Swastika.   

The Swastikasana is relatively easy to practice and can be used for meditative purposes.  The swastikasana has a history dating back to the 200 BC where it was first described. The swastikasana is a comfortable pose which maintains the concentration of a person.

The swastikasana helps one to maintain temperature normally within the body and tones the abdominal muscles.  Here is a step by step procedure to practice swastikasana.

Steps to perform Swastikasana

Here is the steps to practice swastikasana.

  • First sit on the floor with legs spread out in front of you.
  • Fold the left leg and place the sole of the left leg against the inner thigh of the right leg.
  • Now bend the righe leg and place the right foot in the space between the left thigh and calf muscles.
  • Grasp the left foot by the toes and pull it up and place it between the right calf and thigh.
  • Ensure that the knees touch the floor firmly.
  • Feel comfortable by adjusting the pose
  • Keep the body and trunk straight
  • The hands can be placed on the knees in any of the classical meditation mudras like Chin mudra or Jnana mudra
  • Maintain awareness on the breath.  You can also concentrate on the tip of the nose or the eye brow center depending on the type of meditation technique.
  • Come out the pose by stretching out the right leg first and then left leg

Benefits of Swastikasana

  • This is a good meditation pose for those who find it difficult to sit in more classical poses like padmasana or the siddhasana
  • Even the people suffering from varicose veins and aching leg muscles can sit in swastikasana
  • This is a good pose for meditation and relaxation
  • The spinal cord gets stretched and becomes stronger with this asana
  • If you practice swastikasana regularly, the abdominal muscles gets toned up
  • High Blood Pressure patients can practice this asana to control the B.P

Here is a video on how to perform swastikasana...


Friday, November 28, 2014

How to practice Dhyan mudra

The mudras or the yogic hand gestures can help you to focus the mind and refine your awareness before and during meditation.  The Dhyan mudra is one such gesture which helps in conditioning the mind for meditation.  Keeping the hands stable in this mudra for  some time generates a state of peace of mind.  Regular practice of this mudra for   increased duration helps in releasing the tensions, stresses.  Relaxation of the mind is very much essential for meditation. The dhyan mudra serves this preconditioning purpose.  So the people who are engaged in spiritual practice of meditation are often seen in the dhyan mudra.


How to practice Dhyan Mudra

The palms are kept open and tips of the thumb and index fingers of both the hands are joined together forming a circle in between them.  Remaining three fingers are kept together and relaxed.  This position of hands is called as dhyan mudra.  

In sitting position, wrists of the hands in the dhyan mudra posture are kept on the respective knees and palms facing upwards.

Benefits of dhyan mudra

The dhyana mudra induces relaxation in the entire body and freshens every organ and limb in our body.  One feels infused with vibrant energy and enthusiasm after sitting in the dhyana mudra even for fifteen minutes.  This mudra should be practiced while sitting preferably in sukhasana ( i.e. sitting with erect spinal cord with legs rolled around).

How to pracice Makarasana - the Crocodile pose

The Makarasana posture is also called as the Crocodile pose because this asana resembles a crocodile resting in the ocean. The crocodile keeps its neck and face above the water.  The same shape of a crocodile is seen in this asana. The makarasana is a wonderful posture for relaxation.  

The makarasana provides relaxation of the entire nervous system, body and mind.  This asana gives extra relaxation to the back region.  The asana removes the tensions and relaxes the muscles which lead to decrease in the demand for blood and oxygen.
It also reduces blood pressure.

Let us now see how to practice makarasana which is very useful for taking rest between asanas. Here is a step by step procedure to practice makarasana...

Step by step procedure for makarasana

  • Lie down on your stomach, placing the legs with a comfortable distance apart and pointing the toes outwards.  See the picture below.
  • Now fold the arms in front of the body by resting the hands on the upper arms.  Position the elbows and lower arms so that the chest does not touch the floor.
  • Keep your eyes closed and pay attention to the breath and its effects around the abdominal area.
  • While inhaling, feel the abdominal muscles gently press against the floor.  While exhaling feel the abdominal pressure decrease.  See the picture below.  

The benefits of Makarasana

The makarasana is a very good asana to release the strain caused by other asanas. The makarasana strengthens and stretches the muscles of the back, legs, buttocks and the back of the arms and legs.  Here is a list of benefits of makarasana.

  • The makarasana helps in relaxing the entire body.
  • Completely relaxes the muscles and mind
  • The problems of high blood pressure  are relieved
  • The makarasana is beneficial for treatment of mental disorders
  • Heart diseases can be cured if you practice makarasana properly 
So the makarasana is very useful for relaxing the body. See the video below which helps you to know how to practice makarasana...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How to practice Tadagasana - the Pond Pose

The Tadagasana also called as the pond pose is practiced to get rid of fatigue, strain, exertion etc.. This is one of the basic and easy asana which can be practiced by any one.  Here is the step by step method to practice Tadagasana.

Step by step practice of Tadagasana

  • Take supine position ( sleeping position )
  • Now bend knees, get heels close to hips.
  • Keep the legs 1 to 1.5 foot apart.
  • Cross arms around the head.
  • Relax all your body, muscles and continue normal breathing while releasing slowly move legs to original position and hands to normal position

Benefits of Tadagasana

  • Reduces stress and exertion
  • Relaxes muscles and mind

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shavasana - how to practice

Shavasana is also called as the corpse pose because the name "Shavasana" comes from the Sanskrit words "Shava" meaning the "Corpse" and Asana meaning the posture.  The shavasana is one of the most important part of yoga practice. Lying on the back, the arms and legs are spread at 45 degrees, the eyes are closed and the breath deep.  The whole body is relaxed on the floor with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath.  

The Shavasana got its name because the body looks like a dead body.  The Shavasana is one of the easiest asanas to get into but the most difficult to practice.  This is the best relaxation poses and if practiced properly with full efforts, can relax every body part, relaxing not only the body but also the mind.   This article explains how to practice Shavasana.

  • Allow the arms and legs to drop open while  lying on the back with the arms about 45 degrees from the side of your body.  Please make sure that you are comfortable.
  • Now close the eyes and take slow deep breaths through the nose.  Allow the whole body to become soft and heavy by relaxing on the floor.  As the body is relaxed on the floor, feel the whole body rising and falling with each breath.
  • Scan the body from the toes to the fingers to the crown of the head, looking for tension, tightness and contracted muscles.  Consciously release and relax any areas that you find.
  • Release all control of the breath, the mind and the body.  Let your body move deeper and deeper into a state of total relaxation.
  • Stay in Shavasana for at least 10 to 15 minutes
  • To release, slowly deepen the breath, wiggle the fingers and toes, reach the arms over your head and stretch the whole body, exhale bend the knees into the chest and roll over to one side coming into a fetal position.  When ready, slowly inhale up to a seated position. 

Benefits of Shavasana

  • This yoga posture brings a deep, meditative state of rest, which may help in the repair of tissues and cells, and in releasing stress. It also gives time for the yoga workout to sink in at a deeper level.
  • This posture leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It is the perfect way to end a yoga session, particularly if it has been a fast-paced one.
  • Shavasana  helps reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • This asana is  an excellent way to ground the body and reduce the Vata dosha(imbalance of the air element) in the body.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Padangusthasana - The Big Toe pose

Padangusthasana also called as the Big Toe pose is one of the easiest poses in Yoga.  Most of the yoga practitioners will learn how to do this padangusthasana in the early practices and yoga sessions.  It is one of the important yoga pose which helps you to stretch all your muscles from head to toe.  Here are the steps to practice padangusthasana.

Steps to practice Padangusthasana

  • Stand upright as in Tadasana with your feet parallel to each other.  There should be at least six inches between the feet.  Keep your legs straight.
  • Now contract your thigh muscles, which will lift your knee caps outward.
  • Keep the legs straight, and bend forward with an aim of touching your forehead to your knee.  Your torso and head should move together.
  • Once in this position, try to grip your big toes with fingers of each foot.  Grip your toes firmly with your fingers
  • Now press your toes into your hand.  If you are unable to catch your toes with changing your posture, you can also use a band or a strap to hook under your toes and hold that instead.
  • Now lift your torso and straighten your elbows as you inhale.
  • Do this for as high as you can without stressing any other part like your neck ..
  • Exhale when you release your torso and bend towards your toes again.  Do this repeatedly.
  • Now try to straighten as if going to starting position but holding your toes.
  • Do this cycle of inhalation and exhalation few times increasing the stretch of the torso every time you stretch.
  • Come back to the starting position by slowly releasing the band and straightening up.

If you feel some stroppy pain in your spine or any part of your body, immediately stop doing it. If you suffer from lower back pain or any lumbar pain, this posture is not advisable to perform. If you have flat feet and week ankle, you must first take instruction from your trainer.

Benefits of Padangusthasana

  • This asana is immensely helpful to improve flexibility of the whole body.
  • This asana someway calms the body flow of blood and thus helps in reducing hypertension.
  • This asana helps to stretch hamstring, calf muscles and thigh, and thus burn the fat and increase strength in these areas.
  • Regular practice of this asana helps to relieve bowel movement and bloated feeling in the stomach.
  • It helps to rejuvenate liver and spine and aims to balance the physical and mental aspect.
  • This asana is recommended for people who are suffering from osteoporosis or likely to suffer from it. This posture gives strength to bones. It is experienced that this asana somehow helpful in insomnia.

Here is a video showing how to practice Padangusthasana

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