BACKBEND YOGA POSES






BACKBEND YOGA POSES:
Improves spinal flexibility and strength creating better posture, stimulates the central nervous system, abdominal organs and aids in digestion, tones the adrenal glands, kidney, pancreas and liver thyroid gland, abdominal organs and lungs, stretches the chest, lungs, upper and lower back, throat, shoulders, hip flexors, can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women, and calms the mind.





One Legged Bridge Pose I (Variation A) / Eka Pada Setu Bandhasana I

(eck-AH pa-DAH set-too bahn-DHAS-anna)

eka= one
pada= foot
setu= dam, bridge ?
bandha= lock

1. From a cross-legged position raise your left knee up and rotate your left hip back so that your toes push toward the back of the room and your inner thigh and calf fall to the floor.  Keep your right knee bent toward the front and your right heel close to your left hip.

2. Squaring your hips toward the front with your hands beside your hips keep pushing your left toes back until your left leg is straight and your quadricep, knee and top of foot are flat on the ground.

3. With your pelvis square to the front and the floor raise your hands and place them on your hips with your elbows pointing backward.

4. Lifting your chest start to bend backward, leading with your upper back and neck as far as you can go.

5. Bend your left knee bringing your foot toward your head.

6. Supporting your self with your hands by your hips again if necessary, reach one arm at a time up and over your head until you reach your ankle or foot until both hands are grasping your left ankle.

7. Pull your foot toward your head until your toes are held by the crook of your neck.  Raise your arms in the air with your palms together, elbows straight reaching toward the back.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck
- Opens your hip flexors, knees and shoulders

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, hip or knee injury

 


 




Pose Dedicated to the Sage Gheranda (Variation B.) /Gherandasana

(gir-ann-dahs-anna)

Gheranda= sage, classical hatha yoga text

1. Lying in prone position, place your palms beside your ears, fingers facing front and toes pointing back.

2. Inhaling, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Stop when your pelvis begins to lift off the ground. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3. Keeping your shoulder blades down your back and maintaining great length in your torso, concentrate your weight on your pelvis and upper thighs.

4. With your knees hip distance apart, bend both of your knees so that your toes point toward the back of your head.

5. With your left hand, reach around the front of your torso and grab onto your right foot pulling your heel toward the ground beside your right hip as in Frog Pose.

6. Concentrating your weight on your left elbow and forearm, torso, pelvis and right thigh, inhale and reach back with your right arm and grab onto your left toes. Pull your left toes upward until your left thigh is off the ground and your knee is level with your shoulder.

Benefits
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders, legs and knees
- Stretches hip flexors
- Strengthens the back, improving posture

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back, neck or knee injuries
- May exacerbate headaches

 


 




King Pigeon Pose / Rajakapotasana (Var. 2)

(ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

raja=king
kapotasana=pigeon

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2. Place your hands under your shoulders. Variation: to make this pose easier, move your hands a few inches forwards.

3. Inhale and press your hands into the floor and straighten your arms out to lift your chest up. Keep the shoulder blades down, neck long and expand your chest open.

4.  Bend one knee at a time, and continue lengthening and bending reaching your feet to touch the top of your head.

5.While maintaining the pose, reach your right arm back to grab your right knee and left then your left arm back grabbing on to the left knee. Variation: To help get into the pose, you can practice with a towel under your knees and reach back, one arm at a time reaching to the back to grab the towel and eventually moving your arms lower to meet your hands at your knees.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.-
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back in injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy
-Headaches

 


 

 


One Legged King Pigeon Pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Var C.)

(eck-AH pa-DAH ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

eka=one
pada=foot
raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. From a cross-legged position raise your left knee up and rotate your left hip back so that your toes push toward the back of the room and your inner thigh and inner calf fall to the floor.  Keep your right knee bent toward the front and your right heel close to your left hip with the outside of the your right leg on the ground. Squaring your hips toward the front with your hands beside your hips keep pushing your left toes back until your left leg is straight and your quadriceps, knee and top of foot are flat on the ground.

2. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot toward your head.  Reach back and grab your left foot with your left hand.  Make sure that you are reaching over and to the back instead of under to the side so as to avoid a shoulder injury. Rotate your shoulder so that your elbow points to the ceiling. Bending your neck back and gazing toward the ceiling pull your left foot as close to your head as you can.

3. Raise your right arm up and to the front so that it is perpendicular to your chest.  Keeping it straight spread your fingers and connect your index finger and thumb symbolizing union between body and mind.

Preparation
Practice Upavistha Konasana and Hanumasana to stretch your inner thighs and groins before doing this pose. Practice backbends such as Ustrasana, Bridge Pose and Upward Bow walking your feet as closer and closer to your head as you improve your spinal flexibility.

Benefits
- Stretches your legs, groins, hip flexors, abdomen, chest and triceps
- Strengthens your back and buttocks

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, knee or hip injury

 


 




Intense Backbend Stretch / Tiriang Mukhottanasana

(tee-ree-ang mook-hot-thas-anna)

tirieng= folded around, reversed
mukha= face
ut=intense
tan = stretch

1. Starting in tadasana mountain pose with feet approximately hip distance apart toes facing forwards. Inhale and sweep your arms up to volcano palms facing each other.

2. Exhale and open up the chest, keeping the shoulder blades down and tip back carefully while keeping the arms extended overhead.

3. Bend back as far as you are able on each exhale tipping back a little further. Push your hips out as you lower creating more flexibility in your lower lumbar spine to bend backwards. Bend your arms and walk them up your legs grabbing on to your thighs with your hands. Either gaze straight, or tip your head back slightly to gaze at your hands.

4.Maintain the pose for 10- 30 seconds and repeat if desired. Carefully rise out of the pose and counteract the intense backbend by resting in child’s pose for a few breaths.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure
-Shoulder Injury

 


 




Tip-Toe Pigeon Pose / Padangustha Kapotasana  (Variation A.)

(pad-ang-us-tha cap-poe-thas-ana)

pada=foot
anga=limb
kapota=pigeon

1. Kneel down with your buttocks resting on your heels and your toes curled under. Engaging your core and your thighs start to lean back supporting your self with your hands and elbows until you are resting on your forearms.

2. Tilt your head back until the crown of your head or your forehead touches the floor.

3. Reach back with your hands so that your palms are beside your ears and your fingers are pointing toward your toes and your elbows pointing toward the ceiling.

4. Start straightening your arms and push your chest up and your pelvis forward.

5. When your arms are straight and you are in a bridge with your knees on the ground, start walking your hands toward your toes until your forehead rests on your heels and your hands and palms are flat on the ground past your toes.

5. With your forehead balanced on your heels raise your arms and point them straight back with your palms together, elbows straight so that your arms are parallel with the floor.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck
- opens your hip flexors, knees and shoulders

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck or knee injury

 


 




Upward Facing Dog/ Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

(OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna)

urdhva=upward
mukha=face
svana=dog

1. Start by laying chest down on the floor. Bring your feet slightly apart, approximately hip distance and let your toes curl in and heels up. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: To increase difficulty, keep your toes pointed towards the back, baby toes touching the floor.

2. Place your hands at the bottom of the ribcage, and keep your arms tucked in close to your body.

3. Inhale and press your hands into the floor and straighten your arms out to lift your chest up. Keep the creases of your elbows facing towards each other.  At the same time, lift your body up and legs up a few inches. Keep your legs straight, shoulder blades down, neck long and expand your chest open.

4.Keep your gaze forwards. Variation: To increase difficulty, gaze up to the sky and lengthen out the throat.

Benefits
-Strengthens the back, arms
-Combats Fatigue
-Stretches chest, abs, and spine
-Stretches the ankles and toes
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back injury
-Carpal tunnel syndrome
-Headache
-Pregnancy

 


 




Cobra Pose / Bhujangasana (Variation II)

(boo-jang-GAHS-anna)

bhujanga = serpent or snake

1. Lying in prone position, place your palms beside your hips, fingers facing front and toes pointing back.

2. Inhaling, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Stop when your pelvis begins to lift off the ground. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3.Keeping your shoulder blades down your back and maintaining great length in your torso, concentrate your weight on your pelvis and upper thighs.  Reach back with your right hand and grab the bottom of your right knee, following with your left hand grabbing your left knee.  Expand your chest without protruding your ribs and keep your neck long, gazing upward and back. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.

Benefits
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Opens the heart and lungs
- Soothes sciatica

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back or neck injuries
- May exacerbate headaches

 


 

 


Reclining Frog Pose / Supta Bhekasana

(soup-tah bee-kas-ana)

supta= lying down
bheka=frog

1.  Bend your knees and sit on your ankles. Slide your feet beside you so your bottom rests comfortably on the floor (hero pose).

2. Slide your hands under the tops of your feet grabbing on to the outside of the feet.

3. Lay all the way back so that your back rests comfortably on the floor. Maintain your footing and keep your bottom and lower back and thighs firmly planted on the floor. Keep your forearms and elbows tucked into the sides of your torso.

4. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, simultaneously lift your torso and hips off the floor. Lifting yourr head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

5. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat,
-Improves posture,
-Stretches the back and strengthens neck,
-Stimulates abdominal organs,
-Stretches ankles and knees and thighs

Cautions
-Migraine,
-Low blood pressure and high blood pressure
-Neck injury
-Lower back injury
-Knee injury

 


 




Fish Pose (Full Lotus Version) / Matsyasana

(mot-see-AHS-anna)
matsya = fish

1. Start sitting up in full lotus position (Padmasana) by pulling in the right foot in and crossing it with the left foot.

2. Lay all the way back so that your back rests comfortably on the floor. Maintain your footing and keep your bottom and lower back, and thighs firmly planted on the floor.

3. Rest your hands on the floor palms down. Keep your forearms firmly planted on the floor and elbows tucked into the sides of your torso.

4. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, lift your torso and head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

5. Grab your right hand to left foot, and your left hand to right foot, maintaining contact to the floor with your elbows.

5. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor. Switch your leg position in full lotus and repeat the above steps again.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat.
-Improves posture.
-Stretches and strengthens neck.
-Stimulates abdominal organs.
-Stretches ankles and knees.

Cautions
-Migraine,
-Low blood pressure and High blood pressure,
-Neck injury, lower back injury, and knee injury

 


 




Camel Pose / Ustrasana

(oosh-TRAHS-anna)

ustra = camel

1. Kneel on your knees with the tops of your feet flat on the ground.  Pull your belly button back toward your spine tilting your pelvis slightly upward. And turn your upper thighs slightly inward.

2. Let your shoulder blades fall down your back.  Lift the top of your sternum expanding your chest and collarbones allowing your arms to hang along side your torso.

3. Start to lean back engaging your thigh muscles and core.  Bending first with your upper back let both of your arms fall toward your heels.

4. Grab onto your heals with the corresponding hands with your fingers leading down the soles of your feet toward your toes.

5. Let the crown of your head fall toward the floor without compromising your throat or hunching your shoulders.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck or knee injury

 


 




Bow Pose / Dhanurasana

(don-your-AHS-anna)

dhanu=bow

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2.Reach behind you and bend you knees. Grab your right ankle with your right hand and your left ankle with your left hand.

3. As you inhale, lift your chest and head up pushing with your quadriceps to help lift you up. As the same time, lift your legs off the floor. Reach your feet to the sky while still holding on to the ankles. Keep the shoulder blades down, and open up the chest, Variation: to increase difficulty, keep your knees and feet together.

4. Keep your head straight, and neck long. Maintain breathing and continue looking forwards.

Benefits
-Strengthens the back
-Stretches the back, chest, shoulders, ankles and neck
-Helps to improve posture

Cautions
-Lower back or neck injury, headache, pregnancy, high blood pressure

 


 

 


One Legged King Pigeon Pose I / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana I (Prep.)

(eh-KAH pah-DAH ra-jah cap-poe-thas-anna)

eka=one
pada=foot
raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. From a cross-legged position raise your left knee up and rotate your left hip back so that your toes push toward the back of the room and your inner thigh and calf fall to the floor.  Keep your right knee bent toward the front and your right heel close to your left hip.

2. Squaring your hips toward the front with your hands beside your hips keep pushing your left toes back until your left leg is straight and your quadricep, knee and top of foot are flat on the ground.

3. With your pelvis square to the front and the floor raise your hands and place them on your hips with your elbows pointing backward.

4. Lifting your chest start to bend backward, leading with your upper back and neck as far as you are able.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck
- opens your hip flexors, knees and shoulders

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, hip or knee injury

 


 




One Legged King Pigepn Pose (Var. B) / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Var B.)

(eh-KAH pah-DAH rah-JAH-cop-poh-TAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
raja = king, royal
kapota = dove, pigeon

1. From a cross-legged position raise your left knee up and rotate your left hip back so that your toes push toward the back of the room and your inner thigh and inner calf fall to the floor.  Keep your right knee bent toward the front and your right heel close to your left hip with the outside of your right leg on the ground.

2. Squaring your hips toward the front with your hands beside your hips keep pushing your left toes back until your left leg is straight and your quadriceps, knee and top of foot are flat on the ground.

3. With your pelvis square to the front raise your hands and raise your arms up keeping them straight and clasp your hands together with your index fingers together and pointing up.  Lean your head back and look at your thumbs.

Practice Upavistha Konasana and Hanumasana to stretch your inner thighs and groins before doing this pose.

Practice backbends such as Ustrasana, Bridge Pose and Upward Bow walking your feet as closer and closer to your head as you improve your spinal flexibility.

Benefits
- your legs, groins, hip flexors, abdomen, chest and triceps
- Strengthens your back and buttocks

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, knee or hip injury

 


 




Intense Backbend Stretch (Prep.) / Tiriang Mukhottanasana

(tee-ree-ang mook-hot-thas-anna)

tirieng= folded around, reversed
mukha= face
ut=intense
tan = stretch

1. Starting in Tadasana mountain pose with feet approximately hip distance apart toes facing forwards. Inhale and sweep your arms up to volcano palms facing each other.

2. Exhale and open up the chest, keeping the shoulder blades down and tip back carefully while keeping the arms extended overhead.

3. Bend back as far as you are able on each exhale tipping back a little further. Gaze at your thumbs.

4.Maintain the pose for 10- 30 seconds and repeat anywhere from 3-5 times to develop flexibility and strength in your spine to prepare for the full expression of the pose.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure

 


 




Inverted Bow Pose / Urdhva Dhanurasana

(oord-VAH don-your-ahs-anna)

urdhva=upward, inverted
dhanu=bow

1.  Lie on your back, and bend your knees placing the heels of your feet as close as possible to your bottom. Your feet should be approximately hip distance apart. Bend your arms and place your hands beside your ears with your fingertips facing towards your shoulder.

2. Exhale and press your feet into the ground lifting up your hips and tail bone up to the sky. Simultaneously, press your hands firmly down and lift your chest and head off the ground.

3. Keep your shoulder blades down and continue to straighten your arms, keeping them parallel. Lift up through your chest to deepen the backbend by pushing evenly through your hands and feet.

4. Maintain the pose for approximately 10-30 seconds, and carefully lower.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Stimulates the thyroid gland
-Stretches the spine
-Strengthens the arms
-Stimulates the thyroid gland

Cautions
-Back injury
-Carpal tunnel syndrome
-High or low blood pressure

 


 




Feet to Head Pose (Prep B.) / Sirsa Padasana

(sirs-AH pah-DHAS-ana)

sirsa=head
pada=foot

1. Start with your knees bent and come on to you forearms as in Headstand I. Clasp your hands together, lower the crown of the head to the floor.

2.Walk your feet up to your head as much as possible and lift into headstand position. Variation: Practice against a wall to help you lift up to develop your balance and coordination.

3.Exhale and drop your legs behind you, touching your feet to the floor. Push your hips forward to deepen the bend in your lumbar spine. Walk your feet in towards your head.

4. Maintain the pose for 10-20 seconds and repeat anywhere from 3-5 times to develop flexibility in your spine to prepare for the full expression of the pose.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the arms
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure

 


 

 


Cobra Pose I / Bhujangasana I

(boo-jang-GAHS-anna)

bhujanga = serpent or snake

1. Lie on your stomach with your toes turned under, or for more of a challenge, with your toes stretching back.  Press you palms to the floor under your shoulders and hug your elbows into your body. Press your feet, thighs and pubis firmly into the floor.

2. Inhale slowly beginning to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor. Stop when you feel your pubis start to lift off the ground, but keep it firmly planted. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3. Firm your shoulder blades, but keep them down. Expand your chest without your ribs protruding.  Lift your neck and look forward or slightly up without hardening your neck or compromising your throat. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.

Benefits
-Strengthens your spine
-Stretches your chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
-Stimulates abdominal organs
-Helps relieve stress and fatigue
-Opens your heart and lungs
-Soothes sciatica

Cautions
-Do not perform with a back injury
-Carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers should avoid this pose
-May exacerbate headaches
-Pregnancy

 


 




Big Toe Bow Pose / Padangustha Dhanurasana (Variation 3. “Feet to Face”)

(pad-ann-gus-THA don-your-ahs-ana)

pada= foot
anga= limb
dhanu=bow

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2. Bend your right knee. Extend your right hand over your head and behind your grab your right foot. Bend your left knee. Extend your left hand over your head and behind your grab your left foot.  Variation: To make things easier, use a towel or strap to place around your right foot and reach behind you grabbing on to the towel. On the exhale climb, you hand down a little further until eventually you can reach your feet.

3. As you inhale, lift your chest and head up pushing with your quadriceps to help you lift you up. Simultaneously lift your legs off the floor. Reach your feet to the sky while still holding on to the tops of the toes. Keep the shoulder blades down, and open up the chest, Variation: to increase difficulty, keep your knees and feet together.

4. Tilt your head back and gaze upward. Maintain your breathing.  Stay in position and bend your legs, touching the bottom of your feet towards your face.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy
-Headaches

 


 

 


Intense Front Body Stretch / Purvottanasana (Knees Bent Variation.)

(purr-vott-tan-ahs-anna)

purva = the east, front of the body
uttana = stretched out

1. Sit with your legs extended out, feet slightly touching and place your hands a few inches behind your hips with your fingers extending forwards.

2.Exhale and press your hands and feet into the floor while lifting up your hips. Keep extending up until your torso is approximately parallel with the floor. Variation: To make this pose a little easier, bend your knees first and then push up. You may straighten one leg at a time or keep them both bent.

3. Keep your shoulder blades down and carefully tip your head back being careful to not compress your neck.

4. Maintain the pose for approximately 30 to 60 seconds and on the exhale, carefully lower down.

Benefits
-Tones the arms and legs
-Strengthens the wrists
-Stretches the chest, ankles and chest

Cautions
-Neck injury
-Carpal tunnel or wrist injury

 


 




Upward Facing Dog / Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Knees on Floor Variation)

(OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna)

urdhva=upward
mukha=face
svana=dog

1. Start by laying chest down on the floor. Bring your feet slightly apart, approximately hip distance and let your toes curl in and heels up. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: To increase difficulty, keep your toes pointed towards the back, baby toes touching the floor.

2. Place your hands at the bottom of the ribcage, and keep your arms tucked in close to your body.

3. Inhale and press your hands into the floor and straighten your arms out to lift your chest up. Keep the creases of your elbows facing towards each other.  At the same time, lift your body up and keep your  knees on the floor  and focus on developing strength in your upper body.

4. Keep your gaze forwards. Variation: To increase difficulty, gaze up to the sky and lengthen out the throat.

Benefits
-Strengthens the back, arms
-Combats Fatigue
-Stretches chest, abs, and spine
-Stretches the ankles and toes
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back injury
-Carpal tunnel syndrome
-Headache
-Pregnancy

 


 




Intense leg stretch (Variation.) / Uttana Padasana

(OO-tan-ah pad-ahs-ana)

pada= foot
uttana= stretched out

1. Lie on your back. Slide your hands below your buttocks, palms facing down. Tuck your forearms and elbows in close to the body. Keep your legs active.

2. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, lift your torso and head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

3.Remove your hands from underneath your buttocks while maintaining your position.
Lift your arms up to the sky and touch your hands together. Note: reaching your hands in the sky adds more pressure to your neck and requires good strength.

3. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat
-Improves posture
-Stretches and strengthens neck
-Stimulates abdominal organs
-Strengthens throat

Cautions
-Migraine
-Low blood pressure
-High blood pressure
-Neck injury
-Lower back injury

 


 




One Legged Big Toe Bow Pose / Eka Pada Padangustha Dhanurasana

(eh-KAH pah-DAH pad-ann-gus-THA don-your-ahs-ana)

eka = one
pada = foot
anga= limb
dhanu = bow

1. Lying in prone position, place your palms beside your ears, fingers facing front and toes pointing back.

2. Inhaling, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Stop when your pelvis begins to lift off the ground. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3. Keeping your shoulder blades down your back and maintaining great length in your torso, concentrate your weight on your pelvis and upper thighs.

4. With your knees together, bend your right knee so that your toes point toward the back of your head.

5. Inhaling, reach back with your right arm and grab onto your toes.   From this position slowly roll forward onto your torso pulling yourself forward with your left arm.  Your right thigh will lift on the floor, helped by your right hand pulling upward on your right toes. Keep your back left leg straight and firmly planted on the ground.

Benefits
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders
- Stretches hip flexors
-Strengthens the back, improving posture

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back or neck injuries
- May exacerbate headaches

 


 




Bound Half Lotus Bridge Pose (Prep.) / Ardha Baddha Padma Setu Bandhasana

(are-dah bad-ah pad-ma see-too ban-dhas-anna)

ardha=half
baddha= bound
padma=lotus
setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground.  If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck.  The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

3. Hold the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute and release. Practice again this time switch sides.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 

 


Pose Dedicated to the Sage Gheranda II / Gherandasana II

(gir-ann-dahs-anna)

Gheranda= sage, classical hatha yoga text

1. Lying in prone position, place your palms beside the bottom of your rib cage, fingers facing front and toes pointing back.

2. Inhaling, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Stop when your pelvis begins to lift off the ground. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3. With your knees hip distance apart, bend both of your knees so that your toes point toward the back of your head.

4. Inhaling, reach back with your right arm and grab your right toes.  Lift and pull your right thigh off the ground so that your knee is in line with your shoulder.

5. Slowly twist your left knee so that your left toes slide under your right thigh.

6. Reach your left arm around your back and use your thumb and first two fingers to grab onto your left big toe, balancing squarely on your pelvis and torso.

Benefits
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders, legs and knees
- Stretches hip flexors
- Strengthens the back, improving posture

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back, neck or knee injuries
- May exacerbate headaches

 


 

 


Monkey Pose (Var 2.) / Hanumanasana

(hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna)

hanuman= mythical deity with monkey qualities

1. Start kneeling on the floor and extend your right foot out. Flex your foot upwards and rotate your right thigh outwards.

2. Exhale and slide your right foot forwards using your fingertips to support you as you lower and at the same time slide your left foot back coming into full splits. Keep the knee cap of your right leg turned upwards to the ceiling and keep your weight evenly distributed in the middle. Variation: To increase difficulty, place blocks under your front and back

3. Inhale and reach your arms over head, keeping the shoulder blades down and palms facing each other.

4. As you exhale, gaze up and gently start tilting back.  Arch your back as far as you are able, and grab the back of your leg with your hands. You may curl the toes of your left foot to make it possible to grab the back of your leg.

5. Stay in this pose between 30 seconds to one minute. Practice on the other side by switching legs.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the hamstrings, groin muscle and thighs
-Stretches the upper and lower back
-Stretches the neck and throat
-Stimulates the abdominal organs

Cautions
-Hamstring injury
-Quadricep injury
-Back, neck or shoulder injury

 


 




Pose Dedicated to the Sage Gheranda (Variation A.) / Gherandasana

(gir-ann-dahs-anna)

Gheranda= sage, classical hatha yoga text

1. Lying in prone position, place your palms beside the bottom of your rib cage, fingers facing front and toes pointing back.

2. Inhaling, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Stop when your pelvis begins to lift off the ground. Pull you belly button toward your spine and keep your buttocks relaxed but firm.

3. With your knees hip distance apart, bend both of your knees so that your toes point toward the back of your head.

4. With your right hand, reach back and grab onto your right foot pulling your heel toward the ground beside your right hip as in Frog Pose.

5. Concentrating your weight on your torso, pelvis and right thigh, inhale and reach around the side toward the back with your left arm and grab onto your left toes. Pull your left toes upward until your left thigh is off the ground and your knee is level with your shoulder and your left arm is straight, chest remaining up off the ground.

Benefits
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders, legs and knees
- Stretches hip flexors
- Strengthens the back, improving posture

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back, neck or knee injuries
- May exacerbate headaches

 


 

 


One-legged King Pigeon Pose (Variation) / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

(eck-ah pa-dah ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

eka=one
pada=foot
raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. Start kneeling on the floor and extend your right foot out. Flex your foot upwards and rotate your right thigh outwards.

2. Exhale and slide your right foot forwards using your fingertips to support you as you lower and at the same time, slide your left foot back coming into full splits. Keep the kneecap of your right leg turned upwards to the ceiling and keep your weight evenly distributed in the middle. Variation: To increase difficulty, place blocks under your front foot.

3. Inhale and reach your arms over head, keeping the shoulder blades down and palms facing each other. To increase difficulty, clasp your hands together.

4. As you exhale, gaze up and gently start tilting back. Bend your left leg to reach the top of your head and gaze up at your hands in the sky.

5. Stay in this pose between 30 seconds to one minute. Practice on the other side by switching legs.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches hamstrings
-Stretches quadriceps
-Stretches upper, lower back, and shoulders

Cautions
-Hamstring injury
-Quadricep injury
-Back, neck or shoulder injury

 


 




Bed pose (Prep Ver.) / Paryankasana

(par-ee-ank-ahs-anna)

paryanka =a bed or couch

1.  Bend your knees and sit on your ankles. Slide your feet beside you so your bottom rests comfortably on the floor (hero pose).

2. Lay all the way back so that your back rests comfortably on the floor. Maintain your footing and keep your bottom and lower back and thighs firmly planted on the floor.

3. Grab on to your ankles and keep your forearms firmly planted on the floor and elbows tucked into the sides of your torso.

4. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, lift your torso and head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

5. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat
-Improves posture
-Stretches and strengthens neck
-Stimulates abdominal organs
-Stretches ankles and knees

Cautions
-Migraine
-Low blood pressure
-High blood pressure
-Neck injury
-Lower back injury
-Knee injury

 


 




Big Toe Bow Pose / Padangustha Dhanurasana (Variation 4. “Eagle Legs”)

(pad-ann-gus-THA don-your-ahs-ana)

pada= foot
anga= limb
dhanu=bow

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards

2.Cross your right leg in front of your left and tuck your right foot behind your left calf as in eagle pose.

3. Inhale, and lift your chest and head up pushing with your quadriceps to help you lift you up.

4. Bend your legs and extend your right hand over your head and grabbing on to your left foot. Extend your left arm up and over your head and also grab the left foot.  Variation: To make things easier, use a towel or strap to place around your right left and reach behind you grabbing on to the towel. On the exhale climb, you hand down a little further until eventually you can reach your foot.

5. Reach your foot to the sky while still holding on to the tops of the toes. Keep the shoulder blades down, and open up the chest

6. Keep your head straight and gaze forward. Maintain your breathing. Practice the other side by following the same steps outlined above but switch to the other leg.

Benefits
-Stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back in injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy

 


 




Fish pose (Var.) / Matsyasana

(mot-see-AHS-anna)

matsya = fish

1. Lie on your back. Slide your hands below your buttocks, palms facing down. Tuck your forearms and elbows in close to the body. Keep your legs active.

2. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, lift your torso and head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

3.Remove your hands from underneath your buttocks while maintaining your position. Bring your arms up and rest the palm of your hands on your quadriceps. Placing your hands on your thighs adds more pressure to your neck and requires good strength.

4. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat
-Improves posture
-Stretches and strengthens neck
-Stimulates abdominal organs
-Strengthens throat

Cautions
-Migraine
-Low blood pressure
-High blood pressure
-Neck injury
-Lower back injury

 


 




Pigeon Pose / Kapotasana (Variation A)

(cap-poe-thas-ana)

kapota=pigeon

1. Kneel down with your buttocks resting on your heels. Engaging your core and your thighs start to lean back supporting your self with your hands and elbows until your upper back and head are on the floor.

2. Reach back with your hands so that your palms are beside your ears and your fingers are pointing toward your toes and your elbows pointing toward the ceiling.

3. Start straightening your arms and push your chest up and your pelvis forward.

4. When your arms are straight and you are in a bridge with your knees on the ground, start walking your hands toward your toes.

5. When your fingertips reach your feet bend your legs at the knees and reach for the back of your neck with your toes.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a knee, back, neck  or wrist injury

 


 




Locust Pose (Var.) / Salabhasana

(sha-la-BAHS-anna)

salasbha = locust

1. Lying in prone position, rest your chin or forehead on the ground.

2. Turn your palms inward so they grab the ground with your arms straight reaching for your toes.  Work your arms together so they are as close to the center as possible or the pinkies touch.

3.  Inhaling, with your legs straight and firm with toes pointed, begin to lift your legs off the ground, transferring your weight to your arms and chin.

4. Lift your legs as high as you can. Some yogis can lift their entire bodies off the ground balancing only on their arms and chins or foreheads.  Keep your toes together for more of a challenge.

Benefits
- Improves spinal flexibility and strength, therefore improving posture
- Stretches chest and belly, stimulating internal organs

Cautions
-Avoid if you have serious back or neck injuries

 


 




(ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2. Place your hands under your shoulders. Variation: to make this pose easier, move your hands a few inches forwards.

3. Inhale and press your hands into the floor and straighten your arms out to lift your chest up. Keep the shoulder blades down, neck long and expand your chest open.

4.  Bend one knee at a time, and continue lengthening and bending reaching your feet to touch the top of your head. Variation: You can use the wall as a prop when practicing if you have tight quadriceps. It will also help to deepen the back bend.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back in injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy
-Headaches

 


 




Locust Pose (Var.) / Salabhasana

(sha-la-BAHS-anna)

salasbha = locust

1. Lying in prone position, rest your chin on the ground and gaze forward, toes pointing back, legs straight.

2. Reach your arms around your back until your hands grasp and straighten out your arms expanding your chest.

3. Inhaling, lift your chest and legs as high as they will go, reaching back with your hands toward your toes.  Focus on bending the upper, not lower back and keep your neck long.  Your weight should be centered on your pelvis and lower abdomen.  Keep your toes together for a more challenging version.

Benefits
- Improves spinal flexibility and strength, therefore improving posture
- Stretches chest and belly, stimulating internal organs

Cautions
- Avoid if you have serious back or neck injuries

 


 

 


Big Toe Bow Pose  / Padangustha Dhanurasana

(pad-ann-gus-THA don-your-ahs-ana)

pada= foot
anga= limb
dhanu=bow

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2. Bend your right knee. Extend your right hand over your head and behind your grab your right foot. Bend your left knee. Extend your left hand over your head and behind your grab your left foot.  Variation: To make things easier, use a towel or strap to place around your right foot and reach behind you grabbing on to the towel. On the exhale climb, you hand down a little further until eventually you can reach your feet.

3. As you inhale, lift your chest and head up pushing with your quadriceps to help you lift you up. Simultaneously lift your legs off the floor. Reach your feet to the sky while still holding on to the  tops of the feet. Keep the shoulder blades down, and open up the chest, Variation: to increase difficulty, keep your knees and feet together.

4. Tilt your head back and gaze upward. Maintain your breathing.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy
-Headaches

 


 

 


Two-Legged Inverted Staff Pose / Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

(dwee pad-dah vip-par-ee-tah dan-dhas-anna)

dwi=two
pada=foot
viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
danda=staff

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground.  If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck.  The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

3. One at a time, rotate your arms around the front and place your elbows on the ground and clasping your hands behind your head.

4. Start to raise your buttocks off the ground.  When you feel ready, straighten your legs and reach for the ground with your toes pushing your hips into the air and your chest to the front.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back and legs
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 

 


Inverted Bow Pose / Urdhva Dhanurasana

(oord-VAH don-your-ahs-anna)

urdhva=upward, inverted
dhanu=bow

1.  Lie on your back, and bend your knees placing the heels of your feet as close as possible to your bottom. Your feet should be approximately hip distance apart. Bend your arms and place your hands beside your ears with your fingertips facing towards your shoulder.

2. Exhale and press your feet into the ground lifting up your hips and tail bone up to the sky. Simultaneously, press your hands firmly down and lift your chest and head off the ground.

3. Keep your shoulder blades down and continue to straighten your arms, keeping them parallel. Lift up through your chest to deepen the backbend by pushing evenly through your hands and feet.

4. Maintain the pose for approximately 10-30 seconds, and carefully lower.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Stimulates the thyroid gland
-Stretches the spine
-Strengthens the arms
-Stimulates the thyroid gland

Cautions
-Back injury
-Carpal tunnel syndrome
-High or low blood pressure

 


 




Upward Bow Pose Headstand Pose / Urdhva Danurasana Sirsasana

(oord-VAH don-your-ahs-anna shear-SHAHS-anna)

urdhva=upward, inverted
dhanu=bow
sirsa = head

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground. If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck. The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

3. One at a time, rotate your arms around the front and place your elbows on the ground and clasping your hands behind your head.

4. Start to raise your buttocks off the ground. When you feel ready, straighten your legs and reach for the ground with your toes pushing your hips into the air and your chest to the front.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back and legs
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 




Bridge Pose (Grab Ankles Vari.) / Setu Bandha

(SET-too BAHN-dah)

setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

1. Lie on your back and bend your knees.  Reach down and grab both ankles with the corresponding hands.

2. Pull your buttocks closer to your feet and lift your hips in the air until your back is fully arched.  Keep your chin away from your chest.

3. From this position grab your ankles, keeping your arms straight and pulling your shoulder blades together.

4. For more of a challenge, keep your feet and knees together.

Benefits
- Stretches your spine, chest and neck
- Stimulates abdominal organs and lungs
- Stimulates your thyroid and can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women
- Calms the mind

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a serious neck injury

 


 

 


Pigeon Pose / Kapotasana

(cap-poe-thas-ana)

raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. Kneel on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels and the tops of your feet flat on the ground.

2. Start to lean back until your elbows and forearms are on the ground supporting the weight of your torso.

3. Lean your head back until the crown of your head or your forehead is resting on the ground.

4. Reach for your mid thighs straightening your arms and lift your pelvis to the sky arching your entire back evenly along the spine.  Lifting your hips up will also pull your head toward your feet.

5. Start walking your hands toward your knees.  Once your hands are grabbing your knees, your head should be at your toes or between your feet.

6. From this position, one at a time, rotate your arms up and around your head until your elbows are on the ground and your hands are grabbing onto your ankles.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 




Tip-Toe Bridge Pose / Padangustha Setu Bandhasana

(pad-ann-gus-THA set-too bahn-DHAS-anna)

pada= foot
anga= limb
setu= dam, bridge ?
bandha= lock

1. Kneel down with your buttocks resting on your heels and your toes curled under. Engaging your core and your thighs start to lean back supporting your self with your hands and elbows until you are resting on your forearms.

2. Tilt your head back until the crown of your head or your forehead touches the floor.

3. Without hyper extending your neck reach for your upper thighs with your hands.  Your weight will now be distributed between your head, toes and knees.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe including the soles of your feet
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates the organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a knee, back or neck injury

 


 

 


One-handed Big Toe Bow Pose (Prep.) / Padangustha Dhanurasana

(eck-AH has-TAH pad-ann-gus-THA don-your-ahs-ana)

eka= one
hasta= hand
pada= foot
anga= limb
dhanu=bow

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2. Bend your right knee. Extend your right hand over your head and behind your grab your right foot. Variation: To make things easier, use a towel or strap to place around your right foot and reach behind you grabbing on to the towel. On the exhale climb, you hand down a little further until eventually you can reach your foot.

3. As you inhale, lift your chest and head up pushing with your quadriceps to help you lift you up. Simultaneously lift your right leg off the floor. Reach your foot to the sky while still holding on to the foot. Keep your left leg, and left hand on the floor. Keep the shoulder blades down, and open up the chest, Variation: to increase difficulty, keep your knees and feet together.

4. Tilt your head back and gaze upward. Maintain your breathing.  Practice the left side following the same steps outlined above.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back or neck injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy
-Headaches

 


 




Bridge Pose (Clasp Palms Vari.) / Setu Bandha

(SET-too BAHN-dah)

setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

1. Lie on your back and bend your knees.  Reach down and grab both ankles with the corresponding hands.

2. Pull your buttocks closer to your feet and lift your hips in the air until your back is fully arched.  Keep your chin away from your chest.

3. From this position clasp your hands together, keeping your arms straight and pulling your shoulder blades together.

4. For more of a challenge keep your feet and knees together.

Benefits
- Stretches your spine, chest and neck
- Stimulates abdominal organs and lungs
- Stimulates your thyroid and can relieve menstrual cramping and menopause for women
- Calms the mind

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a serious neck injury

 


 




One-legged King Pigeon Pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

(ache-ah pah-dah ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

eka=one
pada=foot
raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. Start kneeling on the floor and extend your right foot out. Flex your foot upwards and rotate your right thigh outwards.

2. Exhale and slide your right foot forwards using your fingertips to support you as you lower and at the same time, slide your left foot back coming into full splits. Keep the kneecap of your right leg turned upwards to the ceiling and keep your weight evenly distributed in the middle. Variation: To increase difficulty, place blocks under your front foot.

3. Inhale and reach your arms over head, keeping the shoulder blades down and palms facing each other.

4. As you exhale, gaze up and gently start tilting back. Bend your left leg to reach the top of your head. Reach your arms back grab your left foot or ankle.

5. Stay in this pose between 30 seconds to one minute. Practice on the other side by switching legs.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches hamstrings
-Stretches quadriceps
-Stretches upper and lower back, throat and shoulders

Cautions
-Hamstring injury
-Quadricep injury
-Back, neck or shoulder injury

 


 




Intense Front Body Stretch / Purvottanasana

(purr-vott-tan-ahs-anna)

purva = the east, front of the body
uttana = stretched out

1. Sit with your legs extended out, feet slightly touching and place your hands a few inches behind your hips with your fingers extending forwards.

2.Exhale and press your hands and feet into the floor while lifting up your hips. Keep extending up until your torso is approximately parallel with the floor. Variation: To make this pose a little easier, bend your knees first and then push up. You may straighten one leg at a time or keep them both bent.

3. Keep your shoulder blades down and carefully tip your head back being careful to not compress your neck.

4. Maintain the pose for approximately 30 to 60 seconds and on the exhale, carefully lower down.

Benefits
-Tones the arms and legs
-Strengthens the wrists
-Stretches the chest, ankles and chest

Cautions
-Neck injury
-Carpal tunnel or wrist injury

 


 




Bound Half Lotus Bridge Pose (Prep.)/ Ardha Badha Padma Setu Bandhasana

(are-dah bad-AH pad-MA set-too ban-dhas-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot or leg

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground.  If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck.  The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 




Intense Leg Stretch (Var.) / Uttana Padasana

(OO-tan-ah pad-ahs-ana)

pada= foot
uttana= stretched out

1. Lie on your back. Slide your hands below your buttocks, palms facing down. Tuck your forearms and elbows in close to the body. Keep your legs active.

2. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, lift your torso and head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

3.Remove your hands from underneath your buttocks while maintaining your position.
Lift your arms up to the sky creating a straight line from the crown of your head to the ends of your fingers. Touch your hands together.

4. Simultaneously, lift your legs up to approximately a 45 degree angle from the floor. Your arms and legs should be parallel.

5. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat
-Improves posture
-Stretches and strengthens neck
-Stimulates abdominal organs
-Strengthens throat

Cautions
-Migraine
-Low blood pressure
-High blood pressure
-Neck injury
-Lower back injury

 


 

 


Bridge Pose (Vari.) / Setu Bandhasana

(SET-too BAHN-dah)

setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground.  If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck.  The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

3. Start to raise your buttocks off the ground.  When you feel ready, straighten your legs and reach for the ground with your toes pushing your hips into the air.

4. Once you are balanced on your head, feet and forearms, lift your elbows off the ground transplant that weight onto your fingertips.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 




Little Thunderbolt Pose / Laghu Vajrasana (Variation B.)

laghu= little, small, lovely
vajra= thunderbolt

1. Kneel on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels and the tops of your feet flat on the ground.

2. Start to lean back until your elbows and forearms are on the ground supporting the weight of your torso.

3. Lean your head back until the crown of your head or your forehead is resting on the ground.

4. Reach for your mid thighs straightening your arms and lift your pelvis to the sky arching your entire back evenly along the spine.  Lifting your hips up will also pull your head toward your feet.

5. Start walking your hands toward your knees.  Once your hands are grabbing your knees, your head should be at your toes or between your feet.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, knee or shoulder injury

 


 




Half Camel Pose/ Ardha Ustrasana

(are-dah oosh-TRAHS-anna)

ardha= half
ustra= camel

1. Kneel on your knees with your toes curved under.  Pull your belly button back toward your spine tilting your pelvis slightly upward. And turn your upper thighs slightly inward.

2. Let your shoulder blades fall down your back.  Lift the top of your sternum expanding your chest and collarbones allowing your arms to hang along side your torso.

3. Start to lean back engaging your thigh muscles and core.  Bending first with your upper back let your right hand fall toward your right heal.

4. Grab onto your right heel with your right hand your fingers leading down the sole of your foot toward your toes.

5. Let the crown of your head fall toward the floor without compromising your throat or hunching your shoulders. Raise your left arm straight up to the sky fingers spread.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck or knee injury

 


 

 


One-legged Inverted Staff Pose II (Var.) / Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana II

(eck-ah pad-dah vip-par-ee-tah dan-dhas-anna)

eka=one
pada=foot
viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
danda=staff

1.  Start by lying on your back and place your hands beside your ears as you would for upward bow pose with your fingers facing towards your shoulders.  Bend your knees and keep your feet as close to your bottom as possible and keep your knees approximately hip distance apart.

2. Inhale and press your hands into the floor while lifting up your torso and hips keeping the feet planted firmly into the ground.

3. Bend your elbows one at a time and place your forearms flat on the floor with your palms facing down. Placing the majority of your weight into your arms and keeping your elbows shoulder width apart. Lower the crown of your head so that it is a few inches off the ground.

4. Walk your legs back as far as you are able so that the backs of your heels touch your fingertips.

5.Lift your right leg up towards the sky and gaze towards your hands.

6. Hold the pose for as long as comfortable. Exhale and gently come out of the pose. Practice the same steps above, but lift your left leg in the air this time.

Benefits
-Stretches spine
-Stretches chest
-Strengthens quadriceps
-Improves balance
-Strengthens arms

Cautions
-Spinal injury

 


 




One-Legged Inverted Bow Pose / Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana

(eck-ah pa-DAH oord-VAH don-your-ahs-anna)

eka=one
pada= foot
urdhva=upward, inverted
dhanu=bow

1.  Lie on your back, and bend your knees placing the heels of your feet as close as possible to your bottom. Your feet should be approximately hip distance apart. Bend your arms and place your hands beside your ears with your fingertips facing towards your shoulder.

2. Exhale and press your feet into the ground lifting up your hips and tail bone up to the sky. Simultaneously, press your hands firmly down and lift your chest and head off the ground. Keep your head relaxed, crown of the head may face down, or slightly look behind you.

3. Keep your shoulder blades down and continue to straighten your arms, keeping them parallel. Lift up through your chest to deepen the backbend by pushing evenly through your hands and feet.

4. Lift your right leg up and straighten it up towards the sky.

5. Maintain the pose for approximately 10-30 seconds, and carefully lower. Practice this pose again, but alternate to the left leg.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Stimulates the thyroid gland
-Stretches the spine
-Strengthens the arms
-Improves balance

Cautions
-Back injury
-Carpal tunnel syndrome
-High or low blood pressure

 


 

 


Fish Pose (Var.) / Matsyasana

(mot-see-AHS-anna)
matsya = fish

1. Lie on your back. Slide your hands below your buttocks, palms facing down. Tuck your forearms and elbows in close to the body. Keep your legs active.

2. Inhale, and firmly push your forearms against the floor. Using the force of your forearms, lift your torso and head up and place either the crown or the back of your head on the floor depending on your flexibility.

3. Maintain the pose for approximately 15 to 45 seconds. Exhale and lower your head and torso back to the floor.

Benefits
-Stretches the throat
-Improves posture
-Stretches and strengthens neck
-Stimulates abdominal organs

Cautions
-Migraine
-Low blood pressure
-High blood pressure
-Neck injury
-Lower back injury

 


 




One Legged Inverted Staff Pose (Prep.) / Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana I

(eck-ah pad-dah vip-par-ee-tah dan-dhas-anna)

eka= one
pada= foot
viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
danda=staff

1.  Start by lying on your back and place your hands beside your ears as you would for upward bow pose with your fingers facing towards your shoulders.  Bend your knees and keep your feet as close to your bottom as possible and keep your knees approximately hip distance apart.

2. Inhale and press your hands into the floor while lifting up your torso and hips keeping the feet planted firmly into the ground.

3. Bend your elbows one at a time and lower the crown of your head to the ground. Clasp your hands behind your head as in headstand I placing the majority of your weight into your arms and keeping your elbows shoulder width apart.

4.Lift your right leg up towards the sky keeping your leg straight.

5. Hold the pose for as long as comfortable. Exhale and come out of the pose. Practice the same steps again but lift your left leg in the air.

Benefits
-Stretches lumbar spine
-Stretches Hamstrings
-Improves balance
-Strengthens arms

Cautions
-Lower back injury

 


 



(eck-ah pa-DAH set-too bahn-DHAS-anna)

eka= one
pada= foot
setu= dam, bridge ?
bandha= lock

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground.  If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck.  The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

3. Start to raise your buttocks off the ground.  When you feel ready, straighten your legs and reach for the ground with your toes pushing your hips into the air.

4. Once you are balanced on your head, feet and forearms, lift your elbows off the ground transplant that weight onto your palms.

5. From here bend one knee toward your chest and then straighten your leg in the air, toes pointed to the sky.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 

 


One-Legged King Pigeon Pose I / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana I 

(eck-AH pa-DAH ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

eka=one
pada=foot
raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. From a cross-legged position raise your left knee up and rotate your left hip back so that your toes push toward the back of the room and your inner thigh and calf fall to the floor.  Keep your right knee bent toward the front and your right heel close to your left hip.

2. Squaring your hips toward the front with your hands beside your hips keep pushing your left toes back until your left leg is straight and your quadricep, knee and top of foot are flat on the ground.

3. With your pelvis square to the front and the floor raise your hands and place them on your hips with your elbows pointing backward.

4. Lifting your chest start to bend backward, leading with your upper back and neck as far as you can go.

5. Bend your left knee bringing your foot toward your head.

6. Supporting your self with your hands by your hips again if necessary, reach one arm at a time up and over your head until you reach your ankle or foot until both hands are grasping your left ankle and your forehead is touching your heel.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck
- opens your hip flexors, knees and shoulders

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, hip or knee injury

 


 




Intense Backbend Stretch / Tiriang Mukhottanasana

(tee-ree-ang mook-hot-thas-anna)

tirieng= folded around, reversed
mukha= face
ut=intense
tan = stretch

1. Starting in tadasana mountain pose with feet approximately hip distance apart toes facing forwards. Inhale and sweep your arms up to volcano palms facing each other.

2. Exhale and open up the chest, keeping the shoulder blades down and tip back carefully while keeping the arms extended overhead.

3. Bend back as far as you are able on each exhale tipping back a little further. Push your hips out as you lower creating more flexibility in your lower lumbar spine to bend backwards. Grab your ankles with your hands and either gaze straight, or tip your head back slightly to gaze at your hands.

4.Maintain the pose for 10- 30 seconds and repeat if desired. Carefully rise out of the pose and counteract the intense backbend by resting in child’s pose for a few breaths.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure
-Shoulder Injury

 


 

 

One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose I / Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana I

(eck-ah pad-dah vip-par-ee-tah dan-dhas-anna)

eka=one
pada=foot
viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
danda=staff

1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your arms by your sides. Make sure your hands are a palms width away from your hips and that your fingers are spread wide grabbing the ground.

2. Slowly curve back your neck and lift your chest until the top of your head or forehead is touching the ground.  If you are learning this pose, it is a good idea to stack two yoga blocks underneath your upper back to help support your head and neck.  The points of contact now are your head, forearms, hands, buttocks and feet.

3. One at a time, rotate your arms around the front and place your elbows on the ground and clasping your hands behind your head.

4. Start to raise your buttocks off the ground.  When you feel ready, straighten your legs and reach for the ground with your toes pushing your hips into the air and your chest to the front.

5. From here bend one knee toward your chest and then straighten your leg in the air, toes pointed to the sky.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back and legs
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or neck injury

 


 




Bound Wheel Pose (Variation.) / Chakra Bandhasana

(cha-krah ban-dhas-ana)

chakra= wheel
bandha=binding, bound

1.  Start by lying on your back and place your hands beside your ears as you would for upward bow pose with your fingers facing towards your shoulders.  Bend your knees and keep your feet as close to your bottom as possible and keep your knees approximately hip distance apart.

2. Inhale and press your hands into the floor while lifting up your torso and hips keeping the feet planted firmly into the ground.

3. Bend your elbows one at a time and place your forearms flat on the floor with your palms facing down. Placing the majority of your weight into your arms and keeping your elbows shoulder width apart. Lower the crown of your head so that it is a few inches off the ground.

4. Walk your legs back as far as you are able so that the backs of your heels touch your fingertips.

5. Maintain the pose for as long as comfortable, and with an exhale, carefully lower down.

Benefits
-Stretches lumbar spine
-Stretches chest
-Strengthens quadriceps
-Improves balance
-Strengthens arms

Cautions
-Spinal injury

 


 




Little Thunderbolt Pose  / Laghu Vajrasana (Variation A.)

laghu= little, small, lovely
vajra= thunderbolt

1. Kneel on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels and the tops of your feet flat on the ground.

2. Start to lean back until your elbows and forearms are on the ground supporting the weight of your torso.

3. Lean your head back until the crown of your head or your forehead is resting on the ground.

4. Reach for your mid thighs straightening your arms and lift your pelvis to the sky arching your entire back evenly along the spine.  Lifting your hips up will also pull your head toward your feet.

Benefits
- Stretches the front of your body from head to toe
- Strengthens your back
- Stimulates organs in your abdomen and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck or knee injury

 


 

 


One Legged King Pigeon Pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Var. D)

(eck-ah pa-dah ra-jah cap-poe-thas-ana)

eka=one
pada=foot
raja=king
kapota=pigeon

1. From a cross-legged position raise your left knee up and rotate your left hip back so that your toes push toward the back of the room and your inner thigh and inner calf fall to the floor.  Keep your right knee bent toward the front and your right heel close to your left hip with the outside of the your right leg on the ground.

2. Squaring your hips toward the front with your hands beside your hips keep pushing your left toes back until your left leg is straight and your quadriceps, knee and top of foot are flat on the ground.

3. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot toward your head.  Reach back and grab your left foot with your left hand.  Make sure that you are reaching over and to the back instead of under to the side so as to avoid a shoulder injury.

4.  Rotate your shoulder so that your elbow points to the ceiling. Bending your neck back and gazing toward the ceiling pull your left foot as close to your head as you can.

Preparation
Practice Upavistha Konasana and Hanumasana to stretch your inner thighs and groins before doing this pose.
Practice backbends such as Ustrasana, Bridge Pose and Upward Bow walking your feet as closer and closer to your head as you improve your spinal flexibility.

Benefits
- Stretches your legs, groins, hip flexors, abdomen, chest and triceps
- Strengthens your back and buttocks

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back, neck, knee or hip injury

 


 

 


Monkey Pose (Variation 1.) / Hanumanasana

(hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna)

hanuman= mythical deity with monkey qualities

1. Start kneeling on the floor and extend your right foot out. Flex your foot upwards and rotate your right thigh outwards.

2. Exhale and slide your right foot forwards using your fingertips to support you as you lower and at the same time slide your left foot back coming into full splits. Keep the knee cap of your right leg turned upwards to the ceiling and keep your weight evenly distributed in the middle. Variation: To increase difficulty, place blocks under your front and back

3. Inhale and reach your arms over head, keeping the shoulder blades down and palms facing each other.

4. As you exhale, gaze up and gently start tilting back.  Arch your back as far as you are able, maintaining your gaze at your hands. Ultimately your arms and upper back will be parallel to the floor.

5. Stay in this pose between 30 seconds to one minute. Practice on the other side by switching legs.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the hamstrings, groin muscle and thighs

Cautions
-Hamstring injury
-Quadricep injury

 


 




Feet to Head Pose / Sirsa Padasana (Prep A.)

(sirs-AH pah-DHAS-ana)

sirsa=head
pada=foot

1. Start with your knees bent and come on to you forearms as in Headstand I. Clasp your hands together, lower the crown of the head to the floor.

2.Walk your feet up to your head as much as possible and lift into headstand position. Variation: Practice against a wall to help you lift up to develop your balance and coordination. You may use the wall as a prop to drop your feet behind you and gradually get as close as possible to the wall in order to touch your feet to the back of your head.

3.Exhale and drop your legs behind you, touching your feet to the floor. Push your hips forward to deepen the bend in your lumbar spine. Walk your feet in towards your head.

4. Walk your feet in so that they are touching the back of your head and grab onto the backs of your toes.

5. Maintain the pose for 10-20 seconds and release carefully down. Counteract the intense backbend by resting in child’s pose for a few breaths.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the arms
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure

 


 




Big Toe Bow Pose  / Padangustha Dhanurasana

(pad-ann-gus-THA don-your-ahs-ana)

pada= foot
anga= limb
dhanu=bow

1. Start by laying down chest down on the floor. Bring your feet together, big toes touching, and let your baby toes touch the floor. Roll your thighs inwards. Variation: to make this pose easier, separate your knees a few inches apart.

2. Bend your right knee. Extend your right hand over your head and behind your grab your right foot. Bend your left knee. Extend your left hand over your head and behind your grab your left foot.  Variation: To make things easier, use a towel or strap to place around your right foot and reach behind you grabbing on to the towel. On the exhale climb, you hand down a little further until eventually you can reach your feet.

3. As you inhale, lift your chest and head up pushing with your quadriceps to help you lift you up. Simultaneously lift your legs off the floor. Reach your feet to the sky while still holding on to the  tops of the feet. Keep the shoulder blades down, and open up the chest, Variation: to increase difficulty, keep your knees and feet together.

4. Tilt your head back and gaze upward. Maintain your breathing.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches the back, chest, shoulders, and neck.
-Strengthens the core, and back, quadriceps.
-Stimulates abdominal organs and aids in digestion

Cautions
-Back injury
-Shoulder injury
-Pregnancy
-Headaches

 


 

 


Feet to Head Pose / Sirsa Padasana

(sirs-AH pah-DHAS-ana)

sirsa=head
pada=foot

1. Start with your knees bent and come on to you forearms as in Headstand I. Clasp your hands together, lower the crown of the head to the floor.

2.Walk your feet up to your head as much as possible and lift into headstand position. Variation: Practice against a wall to help you lift up to develop your balance and coordination. You may use the wall as a prop to drop your feet behind you and gradually get as close as possible to the wall in order to touch your feet to the back of your head.

3.Exhale and drop your legs behind you, touching your feet to the floor. Push your hips forward to deepen the bend in your lumbar spine. Walk your feet in towards your head.

4. Walk your feet in so that they are touching the back of your head and grab onto the backs of your toes.

5. Maintain the pose for 10-20 seconds and release carefully down. Counteract the intense backbend by resting in child’s pose for a few breaths.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the arms
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure

 


 




Dog Tilt Pose / Svanasana

(shvah-NAHS-anna)

shvana = dog = cat

1. Start from your hands and knees with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Keep your fingers spread and your toes pointed toward the back with the top of your feet flat on the ground.

2. Inhaling, drop the center of your spine toward the floor and tilt your tailbone up toward the ceiling. Bring the crown of your head up toward the ceiling too elongating your neck. Keep your shoulder blades down your back.

Benefits
- Strengthens your back
- Stretches your abdomen and hips
- Improves digestion

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back or wrist or knee injury or use a blanket for your knees and straighten your wrists and balance on your knuckles

 


 

 


Extended Puppy Pose / Uttana Shishonasana

(OOt-anna shee-shon-AHS-anna)

uttana = intense stretch

1. From Downward Facing Dog place your knees on the floor slightly back from your hips and hip distance apart. Extend your toes to the back of the room so that the tops of your feet are on the floor.

2. Tilt your tailbone up toward the sky and pull your bellybutton in toward your spine. Reach with your fingers toward the front of the room while expanding your chest and pushing your armpits toward the floor.

Benefits
- Stretches your shoulders, back and abdomen

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a knee injury or place a towel underneath your knees

 


 




Upward Bow Head Stand Pose / Urdhva Dhanurasana Sirsasana

urdhva= upward
dhanu=bow
sirsa=head

1. Start with your knees bent and come down to the ground on to you forearms as in Headstand I. Clasp your hands together, lower the crown of the head to the floor in between your hands.

2.Walk your feet up to your head as much as possible getting as vertical as possible and lift into headstand position. Variation: Practice against a wall to help you lift up to develop your balance and coordination.

3.Exhale and drop your legs behind you. If you are practicing with a wall, walk your legs down the wall until your feet reach to the floor. Push your hips forward to deepen the bend in your lumbar spine. Walk your feet in towards your head and place your feet flat on the floor.

4. Maintain the pose for 10-20 seconds and repeat anywhere from 3-5 times to develop flexibility in your spine to prepare for the full expression of the pose.

Benefits
-Stretches the chest and lungs
-Intensely stretches the spine and back
-Strengthens the arms
-Strengthens the back

Cautions
-Back injury
-High or low blood pressure

 


 



1. Start in downward dog position. Bend your right leg and lift it up drawing your knee up to the sky and bring your foot into your buttocks as in one legged scorpion.

2. Begin to drop your right foot down to your left side on the outside of your left foot. Once your foot if securely on the ground, release your right arm off the ground and extended it. Variation; As you flip over, simultaneously drop the right foot and lift the right arm.

3. Keep your left leg straight with foot flat on the ground and lift your hips up as much as you are able resulting in a slight back bend.

4. Gaze to your right fingertips extended out. Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds and release. Practice the other side equally.

Benefits
-Stretches hamstrings
-Stretches open hips
-Stretches upper and lower back, throat and shoulders

Cautions
-Hamstring injury
-Back, neck or shoulder injury

 


 




Sphinx Pose / Purushamrigasana

(pur-ush-am-ree-gas-anna)

Purushamriga = Man-Beast

1. Lie down in a prone position with your feet hip distance apart.  Point your toes and reach for the back of the room.

2. Tilt your pelvis under and push your tailbone to the back of the room.  Keep your legs engaged and keep your buttocks firm but not tight.

3. Place your elbows underneath your shoulders and lay your forearms on the floor parallel to each other with your palms facing down.  Spread your fingers and grab the ground.

4. Inhaling push your chest and upper abdomen off the ground into a gentle back bend.  Keep your shoulder blades down your back; do not hunch your shoulders.  Lengthen your neck and reach for the ceiling with the crown of your head.

Benefits
- Strengthens your legs and back
- Stretches your chest and neck

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a back injury

 


 

 

(nah-ush-ahs-anna)

Nahusha= Name of mythical sage

1.  Come down to your hands and knees. Open your knees slightly wider than hip width apart and bring the soles of your feet together with your toes pointed to the back. Shift your weight forwards slightly to make your feet touch a little easier.

2. Keeping your knees and feet placed firmly where they are, with the help of your hands, lift your torso up right. Tuck your tailbone under resulting in a slightly pelvic tilt in and roll your shoulder blades down your back to open up the chest.

3. Drop your right hand down to the ground just above your foot, followed by your left hand. Variation: stay on your fingertips on the ground, or grab onto your ankles. Leading with the upper back, sink a little deeper into the back bend.

4. Press your hips up high and let your head extend back to intensify the stretch. Hold the pose for up to one minute and release, practice again, this time dropping the other arm down first.

Benefits
-Stretches ankles, knees, and hips
-Stretches shoulders, chest and spine
-Helps to improve posture

Cautions
-shoulder injury
-ankle injury
-back injury

 


 

 


One Arm Tip Toe Upward Bow / Eka Hasta Padangustha Urdhva Dhanurasana

(eh-KAH has-tha pad-ann-gus-THA oord-vah don-your-ahs-ana)

eka = one
hasta = hand
pada= foot
anga= limb
urdhva=upward
dhanu = bow

1. Lie on your back and draw your feet into your buttocks as close as you are able keeping your feet at about hip distance apart with toes straight forwards. Place your hands down on the ground palms down on either side of your hips.

2. Press firmly into the soles of your feet, and lift your hips up high. Extend your arms up to the sky, bend your elbows, and place the palm of your hands down, fingertips just under the top of your shoulders.

3. Press firmly into your hands to lift up into upward bow. Relax your head and neck back.

4. When you feel stable, lift your heels off the ground, coming on to your tip toes (ball of foot). Keep lifting your hips up high. You may have to walk you hands in a few inches.

5. Place your weight into your feet and left hand and lift your right arm off the ground. Reach to the back of your right hamstring. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and release. Practice again, this time switch to the other arm.

Benefits
-Strengthens arms and legs
-improves coordination
-Stretches shoulders, chest and spine
-Helps to improve posture
-Strengthens the ankles

Cautions
-ankle injury
-back injury
-shoulder injury

 


 




Tip Toe Bound wheel Pose / Padagustha Chakra Bandhasana

(pa-dah-gus-tha sha-krah ban-dhas-anna)

pada=foot
chakra= wheel
bandha= bound

1. Start by lying on your back and place your hands beside your ears as you would for upward bow pose with your fingers facing towards your shoulders. Bend your knees and keep your feet as close to your bottom as possible and keep your knees approximately hip distance apart.

2. Inhale and press your hands into the floor while lifting up your torso and hips keeping the feet planted firmly into the ground.

3. Bend your elbows one at a time and place your forearms flat on the floor with your palms facing down. Placing the majority of your weight into your arms and keeping your elbows shoulder width apart. Lower the crown of your head so that it is a few inches off the ground.

4. Walk your legs back as far as you are able so that the backs of your heels touch your fingertips. Once you are stable, lift your heels off the ground so that you are on your tiptoes.

5. Lift your head up and look forwards towards your toes Maintain the pose for as long as comfortable, and with an exhale, carefully lower down.

Benefits
-Stretches lumbar spine
-Stretches chest
-Strengthens quadriceps
-Improves balance
-Strengthens arms

Cautions
-Spinal injury




3 Comments for BACKBEND YOGA POSES


PRAVEEN - Reply
May 28, 2013, 7:04 pm

Hi, Its really good giving about the information regarding the back bending asana including its limitations and benefits.

MR.YOGA - Reply
June 11, 2013, 9:38 pm

Back bending poses are challenging, yet rewarding yoga postures! Keep practicing!

Thomas - Reply
August 8, 2013, 10:35 am

thanks for sharing beautiful yoga poses….





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