In the Yoga Sutra of Maharsi Patanjali there is a concise definition of Yoga that is “Sthiram Sukha Asanama”, meaning of that position is comfortable and steady. It is difficult to say the number of total Asana.
It is said that in the ancient times they numbered 84,00,000 Asana. Just like number of living things upon this earth. Slowly the number came down to 84 only and right now the practice of 30 to 40 Asanas are believed to be more than enough to keep healthy, free of disease, free from stress, young and good looking. Asanas are easy exercise which make people relaxed. The practice of Yogasana is quiet easy method for leading a happy, healthy and stress less life. Asana controls the body and mind. Regular practice of Asana results in the purification of veins and nerves and promotion of general physical and mental health. The Asanas are of two types one is related to mental health and second is to physical health. For stress management both of the Asanas are necessary.
The mind and body are not separate entities, although, there are a tendency to think and act as though, they are the gross form of the mind is the body and the subtle form of the body is the mind. The practice of Yogasana leads to the integration and harmony of the two, the body and mind harbor stress. Asana helps to releases mental stress.
1. Tadasan (Palm tree pose):
Tadasan is effective Asana for starting the Yoga Asana.
The Tadasan followers are instructed to:
stand with the feet together or about 10 cm apart, and arms by the sides.
make body steady and divide the weight equally on both of the feet.
raise the arms over the head and interlock the fingers and turn palms upward.
place the hands on top of the head.
fix the eye at a point on the wall slightly above the level of the head.
inhale and stretch the arms, shoulders and chest upward.
raise the heels coming up on to the toes.
stretch the whole body from top to bottom make balance, and not to lose the balance and move the feet.
eye should be remain fixed on this point throughout the practice.
it may be difficult at first to maintain balance but with practice it becomes easier.
lower the heels while breathing out and bring the hands to the top of the head.
keep hold the breath and the position for a few seconds.
this asana goes around, get relax for the few seconds before performing the next round. Practice it 5 to 10 rounds.
breathing should be synchronized with the raising and lowering of the arms.
2. Trikona Asana (Triangular Pose):
The Trikona Asana followers are instructed to :
strength the body right and left side.
stand with the feet about 2 feet apart.
fix the gaze on a point in front of directly.
turn the palms outward with interlocking the fingers.
inhale and raise the arms over the head.
bend out the body to the left side from the waist with exhaling.
keep hold the position for a few seconds while retaining the breath outside.
come to the upright position repeat on the right side with inhaling and slowly.
carry down the arms from upright position with exhaling.
after they go one round, they are asked to practice it 5 to 10 rounds.
3. Pawan Muktasan:
The Pawan Muktasan followers are instructed to :
lie in the base position
bend the right knee and bring the thigh to the chest.
interlock the fingers and clasp the hands on the shin just below the right knee.
keep the left leg straight and on the ground.
inhale deeply, filling the lungs as much as possible.
holding the breath, raise the head and shoulders off the ground and try to touch the right knee with the nose.
remain in the final position for a few seconds, retaining the breath and counting mentally.
retune to the base position while slowly exhaling.
relax the body.
repeat 3 times with the right leg and then 3 times with the left leg.
Point to remember :
Ensure that the straight leg remains in contact with the ground. It is important to start with the right leg because it presses the ascending colon directly. Follow with the left leg which presses the descending colon directly.
They are asked to :
remain in the previous position.
bend both knees and bring the thighs to the chest.
interlock the fingers and clasp the hands on the shin bones just below the knees.
holding the breath, raise the head and shoulders and try to place the nose in the space between the two knees.
hold the breath in the raised position for a few seconds, counting mentally.
lower the head, shoulders and legs slowly while breathing out.
practice this 3 times.
4. Sukhasan (Easy sitting pose):
The Sukhasan followers are instructed to :
sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
bend the right leg and place the foot under the left thigh.
bend the left leg and place the foot under the left thigh.
place the hands on the knees in Chin or Gyana Mudra.
keep the head, neck and back upright and straight, but with ought to strain and close the eyes.
relax the whole body and the arms should be relaxed and not held straight.
5. Padmasan(Lotus pose):
The Padmasan followers are instructed to :
sit with the leg straight in front of the body.
bend one leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh slowly and carefully.
(The sole should face upward and the heel should be close to the pubic bone.)
bend the other leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh when this feels comfortable.
touch the ground in the final position with both knees.
held the head and spine upright and the shoulders relaxed.
place the arms with the elbows slightly bend and check that the shoulders are not raised.
close the eyes and relax the whole body.
observe the total posture of the body, making the necessary adjustment by moving forward or backward until balance and alignment are experienced. (Perfect alignment indicates the correct posture of Padmasan.)
6. Shavasan (Corpse pose):
The Shavasan followers are asked to :
lie flat on the back with the arms about 15 cm away from the body, palms acing upward.
(Note : A thin pillow or folded clothes may be placed behind the head to prevent discomfort.)
let the fingers curl up slightly.
move the feet slightly apart to a comfortable position and close the eyes.
the head and spine should be in a straight line.
make sure the head does not fall to one side or the other
relax the whole body and stop all physical movement.
be aware of the natural breath and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed.
begin to count the breaths from number 30 backwards to zero. Mentally repeat, “I am breathing in 30, I am breathing out 30, I am breathing in 29, I am breathing out 29”, and so on, back to zero.
Point to remember :
If the mind wanders and the net number is forgotten, bring it back to the counting and start again at 30.If the mind can be kept on the breath for a few minutes the body will relax.
According to time available, in general, the longer the better although a minute or two is sufficient between asan practices.
7. Bhujangasan (Cobra pose):
The Bhujangasan followers are asked to :
lower the buttocks and hips to the floor.
arch the back and push the chest forward into the cobra pose straightening the elbows.
bend the head back and direct the gaze upward to the eyebrow centre.
Notes to remember :
the thighs and hips remain on the floor and the arms support the trunk.
unless the spine is very flexible the arms will remain slightly bent.
inhale while raising the hands and exhale the back at breathing.
8. Shalabhasan (Locust pose):
Locust pose followers are asked to :
lie flat on the stomach with the legs and feet together and the soles of the feet uppermost.
(The arms may be placed either under the body or by the sides, with the palms downward or the hands clenched.)
stretch the chin slightly forward and rest it on the floor throughout the practice.
close the eyes and relax the body.
(Note : This is the starting position the elevation of the legs is produced by applying pressure with the arms against the floor and contracting the lower back muscles.)
raise slowly the legs as high as possible, keeping them straight and together.
hold the final position for as long as is comfortable without strain.
lower the legs slowly to the floor.
continue it until completes a round.
return to the starting position and relax the body with the head turned to one side.
allow the respiration and heart beat to return to normal.
The followers are asked to :
inhale deeply in the starting position.
retain the breath inside while raising the legs and holding the position and exhale while lowering the legs.
(Notes : Beginners may find it helpful to inhale while raising the legs. Advanced practitioners may exhale after returning to the starting position.)
The followers are suggested to repeat as :
Up to 5 rounds when performed dynamically. Up to 3 rounds when performed statically.