SEATED YOGA POSES








SEATED YOGA POSES:
Most of modern life is spent sitting down with poor posture. Seated yoga poses help us train our spines to be straight, strong, and supple, even when compromised by a twist or an urge to slouch. Furthermore, not only do seated poses/asanas strengthen our back muscles, they strengthen our core, obliques and upper thighs as well. They are also fundamental when training our bodies to become more flexible. While seated we can steady ourselves and focus on stretching particular muscles and opening certain joints, specifically our hips, knees, ankles and shoulders. Seated poses/asanas help us release tension from our bodies, gain core strength and ascertain a greater sense of peace.


 




Twist Dedicated to the Sage Bharadvaja II / Bharadvajasana II

(bah-ROD-va-JAHS-anna)

Bharadvaja = one of seven legendary seers credited with composing the hymns collected in the Vedas

1. From Hero Pose release your left leg and bend your left leg and place your left foot in the crook of your upper right thigh and hip keeping your left knee on the ground as close to your right knee as possible.

2. To help keep your foot in place, place your right hand on the top of your left foot. Twist to the left and back leading with your gaze and bring your left arm around your back and grab onto your left toes.

3.  Place your right hand on your left knee or on the ground beside the outside of your left knee.

Preparation
For beginners please try the following versions of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose first: Keep your left leg straight instead of bringing your left foot to your right buttock and keep your right foot on the inside of your right thigh.  Wrap your left arm around your right bent leg without bringing your elbow to the outside.  Place your right hand to the back and twist looking toward the back of the room.
One you get used to this gentle twist you can add the different elements such as

1. Crossing your right leg over your left.

2.  Bringing your left foot to your right buttock.

3.  Bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right leg.

4.  Straightening your left arm and grabbing onto your right foot and

5.  Reaching your right arm around your back and grabbing onto your left thigh.

Practice full Lotus Pose to gain flexibility in your hips knees and ankles.

Benefits
- Stretches your hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists and spine
- Stimulates internal organs
- Relieves sciatica

Cautions
- Do not perform of you have a back or knee injury

 


 

 


Upward Half Lotus Forward Bend / Urdhva Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana

(OORD-vah ARE-dah PAD-ma Posh-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)

urdhva= upward
ardha= half
padma= lotus
paschima= back of body, west side
uttana=stretched

1. Sit down with your legs extended out in front of you. Lift your tail bone up and expand open your chest. Pull your belly button back towards your spine. Place your hands palms facing down at either side of your hips. Take your right foot and place it high up in your left hip crease as in half lotus. Forward fold bending from the hips and grab on to the foot with both hands. Try grabbing on to the left wrist. Only when you are comfortable in this pose, continue to step 2.

2. Sitting up tall with your legs extended, place your right foot into half lotus as in step 1. Bend your left leg and grab on to the foot with both hands. Variation: Alternately take your half lotus to your knee in this pose.

3. Begin to straighten your left leg completely up to the sky. As you lift, engage your core and keep your belly pulled in. Keep your chest expanded and shoulders down. Pull your self in as close as you can so that your nose touches your shin.

4.Take your left hand and grab on to the wrist of your right arm across the bottom of your foot. Variation: You may make the ‘Om’ symbol with your right hand, or to decrease intensity, keep holding your foot at the outside edges. Gaze at the big toes in the sky. Maintain the pose for at least 10 seconds and gradually increase the length of the pose as you develop greater core strength.

Benefits
- Strengthens and tones the core, abdominals and spine
- Helps to improve digestion
- Improves balance
- Increases stamina
- Stretches hamstrings, shoulders and wrists

Cautions
- Low blood pressure
- Pregnancy
- Asthma

 


 

 


Pose dedicated to the Sage Vamadeva II / Vamadevasana II

(vah-ma-dev-AHS-anna

Vamadeva = A sage or god entrusted with destruction

1. Firstly practice frog pose by lying on your stomach. Grab your right foot with your right hand and use your arm to help press your foot into the ground on the outside edge of your right hip.  Hold here for a few deep breaths. Release and practice the other side. Once you are comfortable with this pose, practice bringing your right foot into the center of your chest as close as possible and hold again for a few deep breaths. Once you are confident in these preparatory poses, continue on to the full expression of the pose by following the steps below:

2. From Hero pose, sitting on your heels, shift your weight to the right side and bring your right leg in front of you at approximately a 90 degree angle and rest it on the ground.

3. Grab the top of the left foot with your left hand and press the top of you foot down beside your left hip. Your hips may rise off the ground, but be sure to keep your knee in contact with the ground. If you like, double up your yoga mat for extra cushioning on your knee.

4. With your right hand, exhale and grab the outside edge of your right foot pulling the foot up and rotating the ankle into your chest. If you are able, touch the soles of your feet together.

5. Keep pressing both feet together and lengthen the spine rotating to your left. Gaze over your left shoulder and maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds, release and practice again this time switching to the other side.

Benefits
- Stretches the quadriceps and hamstrings
- Opens the knees, hips and ankles
- Stretches the chest and shoulders
- Stimulates abdominal organs

Cautions
- Ankle injury or knee injury, use modifications

 


 

 

Bound Lotus Pose (Prep.) / Baddha Padmasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back.  Exhaling reach around your back with your right hand twisting from your bellybutton and grab onto your right big toe.

3. Exhale again and twist to the left bringing your left hand around your back and right arm and grab onto your left big toe.

4.  Straighten your spine again and gaze straight ahead.

Preparation
Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus. Practice binding poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose to prepare you for full binding.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees, ankles, shoulders and chest
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 

 


Revolved Open Angle Seated Forward Bend / Parivrtta Upavistha Konasana

(par-ee-vrit-TAH oo-pah-VEESH-tah cone-AHS-anna)

parivrtta= revolved, turned around
upvistha = seated, sitting
kona= angle

1. Start in a seated position with your legs out in front of you. Exhale and open your legs to the sides at approximately 80% of your capacity. Engage your legs and flex your feet.

2. Bring your right hand to your right shin. Exhale and bend from the waist lowering to your right side. Keep your hips parallel to the front. Simultaneously, Lift your left arm up and reach it to the sky gazing up. Rotate your chest up, but keep your shoulder blades down your back. Hold for a few deep breaths and release.

3. Practice again, this time lower your right forearm down to the inside of your right shin and rotate the chest up to the sky. Exhale and lower even further this time grabbing on to the sole of the foot with your right arm. Lower your left arm down to grab the outside edge of your left foot. Use your hands grabbing on to your foot to help lengthen your torso up and sink deeper into the pose. Try to work the top of your right shoulder into the ground as you rotate.

4. Keep your gaze up to the sky and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Release and practice again this time switching to the left side.

Benefits
- Stretches the quadriceps, groin and hamstrings
- Strengthens and stretches your lumbar spine
- Intensely stretches the chest and shoulders
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Stretches obliques and side of torso

Cautions
- Back injury
- Groin injury
- Carpal tunnel

 


 

 


Revolved Seated Forward Bend / Parivrrta Paschimottanasana

(POSH-ee-moh-tah-AHS-anna)

pashima= west side of body
tana= to stretch out, extend

1. Begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana.  Inhale and sweep your arms over head, lengthening up though the spine as you breathe in. Lower your left hand to your left shin. Exhale and bend from the waist lowering to your left side. Simultaneously, lift your right arm up and reach it to the sky gazing up. Rotate your chest up, but keep your shoulder blades down your back. Hold for a few deep breaths and release.

2. As you become more comfortable with this pose, try the next phase by lowering your left forearm down to the outside of your left shin and rotating the chest up to the sky. Exhale and lower even further this time grabbing on to the sole of the right foot with your left arm. Lower your right arm down to grab the outside edge of your left foot. Use your hands grabbing on to your foot to help lengthen your torso up and sink deeper into the pose. Try to work the top of your right shoulder into the ground as you rotate up to the sky.

3. Keep your gaze up to the sky and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Release and practice again this time switching to the left side.

Benefits
- Stimulates the liver and abdominal organs
- Stretches the hamstrings and calves
- Helps to relax the brain and de-stress
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, and chest
- Stretches obliques and side of torso

Cautions
- Knee or wrist injury, use modifications
- Asthma
- Back Injury

 


 



Twist Dedicated to the Sage Bharadvaja II (Variation) / Bharadvajasana II

(bah-ROD-va-JAHS-anna)

Bharadvaja = one of seven legendary seers credited with composing the hymns collected in the Vedas

1. From Hero Pose release your left leg and bend your left leg and place your left foot in the crook of your upper right thigh and hip keeping your left knee on the ground spread out from your right knee toward the left.

2. To help keep your foot in place, place your right hand on the top of your left foot. Twist to the left and back leading with your gaze and bring your left arm around your back and grab onto your left toes.

3.  Place your right hand on your left knee or on the ground beside the outside of your left knee.

Preparation

For beginners please try the following versions of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose first: Keep your left leg straight instead of bringing your left foot to your right buttock and keep your right foot on the inside of your right thigh.  Wrap your left arm around your right bent leg without bringing your elbow to the outside.  Place your right hand to the back and twist looking toward the back of the room.
Once you get used to this gentle twist you can add the different elements such as:

1. Crossing your right leg over your left.

2. Bringing your left foot to your right buttock.

3. Bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right leg.

4. Straightening your left arm and grabbing onto your right foot and

5. Reaching your right arm around your back and grabbing onto your left thigh.

Practice full Lotus Pose to gain flexibility in your hips knees and ankles.

Benefits
- Stretches your hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists and spine
- Stimulates internal organs
- Relieves sciatica

Cautions
- Do not perform of you have a back or knee injury

 


 




Yogic Seal / Yoga Mudrasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back.  Exhaling reach around your back with your right hand twisting from your bellybutton and grab onto your right big toe.

3. Exhale again and twist to the left bringing your left hand around your back and right arm and grab onto your left big toe.

4.  Straighten your spine again and exhaling, bend forward from your hips until your forehead touches the floor in front of you.

Preparation
Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus. Practice binding poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose to prepare you for full binding. Practice Full Forward Bend and Pachimottanasana until you are comfortable in forward bends in combination with the previous poses mentioned as well.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees, ankles, shoulders and chest
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 




Archer Pose II (Var.) / Akarna  Dhanurasana II

(ack-are-NAH don-your-AHS-anna)

Akarna= Near the ear
Dhanu= Bow

1. Begin by sitting in Dandasana, legs extended out straight in front of you. Take your right leg with both your hands and place it over your right shoulder.

2. Take your left arm and grab onto the outside edge of your right foot. Straighten your right arm and place it on the ground palm facing down a few inches forward of your hip.

3. Exhale and begin to straighten the right leg completely. Keep both legs engaged and use the pressure against your right shoulder to help you lift and keep your chest rotated open. Once your leg is straight, drop it down a couple of inches so that it is approximately at a 45 degree angle with the ground.

4. When you feel stable in the pose, drop your left arm beside you and rest it on the ground.

5. Keep your gaze forwards. Maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds . Exhale, come down slowly and practice the other leg.

Benefits
- Stretches the hamstrings, groin and hip flexors
- Stretches open the chest and shoulders
- Strengthens the arm and legs

Cautions
- Shoulder Injury
- Ankle injury
- Asthma

 


 

 


Upward-Facing Open Angle Pose / Urdhva Upavistha Konasana

(OORD-vah oo-pah-VEESH-tah Cone-AHS-anna)

urdhva=upward
upavistha= seated, sitting
kona=angle

1. Initially, practice this pose as a forward bend until you are comfortable by first sitting on the ground with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Open your legs so they are a little more than 90 degrees apart and start to fold forward from the hips keeping your back flat. Walk your hands forwards until your chest can comfortably rest on the ground and grab on to the outside edges of your feet. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. Only when you have become familiar with this position, continue to the next step.

2. From sitting with your legs extended straight out, bend your legs and grab on to the outside edges of your feet. Lift your tail bone up and expand open your chest. Pull your belly button back towards your spine.

3. Tip back slightly and start to open your legs out to the sides at approximately at a 90 degree angle. Straighten your legs completely while still holding on to the outside edges of the feet. Make sure to place equal weight on your sitting bones.
As you lift, engage your core and keep your belly pulled in. Keep your chest expanded and shoulders down. Start to pull your self in closer so that your torso is as vertical as possible. Maintain the pose for at least 10 seconds and gradually increase the length of the pose as you develop greater core strength.

Benefits
- Strengthens and tones the core, abdominals and spine
- Helps to improve digestion by stimulating abdominal organs
- Improves balance
- Stretches soleus, gastrocnemius, semitendinosus (inside of legs).

Cautions
- Lumbar spine injury
- Pregnancy
- High or low blood pressure

 


 




Side Bending Yogic Seal / Parsva Yoga Mudrasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back.  Exhaling reach around your back with your right hand twisting from your bellybutton and grab onto your right big toe.

3. Exhale again and twist to the left bringing your left hand around your back and right arm and grab onto your left big toe.

4.  Straighten your spine again and exhaling, bend forward from your hips and twist to the left until you kiss your left knee.

Preparation
Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus. Practice binding poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose to prepare you for full binding. Practice Full Forward Bend and Pachimottanasana until you are comfortable in forward bends in combination with the previous poses mentioned as well.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees, ankles, shoulders and chest
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 

 


One-Leg-Over- Arm Balance / Eka Hasta Bhujasana

(eck-AH has-TAH boo-jah-pee-DAHS-anna)

eka = one
hasta = hand
Bhuja = place in Indina, Hindu Saint

1. Begin by sitting in Dandasana, legs extended out straight in front of you. Take your right leg with both your hands and place it over your right shoulder.

2. Place both hands on the ground on either side of you left thigh with your fingertips facing forwards. Use the pressure of the back of your shoulder and press back to help keep your leg securely in position.

3. Engage your core muscles and straighten your arms. Start to lift your buttocks off the floor as high as you are able. You may keep your left foot on the floor initially, but try to lift it off the floor for a second at a time. As you become more familiar with the pose, lift your left foot off the floor and hold it so it is hovering off the floor. Variation: To increase difficulty, lift your buttocks and leg off the floor at the same time. Keep your gaze forwards. Maintain the position for as long as you are able and slowly release. Practice again but switch to the other leg.

Benefits
- Develops core strength and stability
- Increases shoulder and arm strength
- Stretches the hamstrings

Cautions
- Carpal Tunnel
- Shoulder Injury
- Pregnancy

 


 

 


Half Lord of the Fishes Pose / Ardha Matsyendrasana

(are-dah MOT-see-n-DRAHS-anna)

ardha=half
Matsyendra= a legend, king of the fish

1. Begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana. Bend your right knee and cross it over your left thigh and bring your heel in as close as you are able to your outside left thigh. Bend your left leg and tuck your left heel close to your right sitting bone with the outside edge of your left foot on the ground.

2.  Inhale and Lift your left arm up to the sky. Exhale and rotate your spine lowering your left arm to your right thigh. Lengthen up through your torso keeping the shoulder blades down and neck long. On every exhale twist a little deeper and look over your right shoulder.

3. Place your right arm behind you to help stabilize the rotation and distribute the twist evenly along your spine. Once you are stable in this pose, take your left arm and press your elbow firmly into your knee and lift your palm up to the sky. Variation: reach your left arm to your right foot and bend your right arm behind your back reaching to the left thigh.

4. To increase difficulty, try a binding version of this pose by reaching your left arm either around the outside of the knee and shin, or under the knee at your inner thigh and reaching your right hand to your left behind your back. If you are able, try clasping on to your wrist.  Maintain the pose for up to one minute and release. Practice again this time switching to the other side.

Benefits
- Relieves mild back ache
- Realigns the spine
- Improves posture
- Stimulates circulation to the spinal cord
- Stretches shoulders and neck

Cautions
- Injury to spine
- Shoulder injury (do not bind)

 


 

 


Bound Angle Pose (Variation) / Baddha Konasana

(BAHD-ha kon-AHS-anna)

baddha = bound
kona = angle

1. From Dandasana bend your legs and push your knees to the ground beside you until the soles of your feet meet.  Grab your corresponding feet with your hands and pull the soles of your feet upward with your thumbs which will help the outside of your knees to reach the ground as well.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees and ankles
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 




Lotus Pose (Variation) / Padmasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Bend your left leg and pull the top of your left foot to your inner right thigh or the crook of your left hip.

3. Keeping your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back, place your thumbs and forefingers together symbolizing union between body and mind.  Turn your palms toward the ground and place your three remaining fingers on the ground beside your knees.

Preparation
Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees and ankles
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 




Monkey Pose (Binding Variation) / Hanumanasana

(hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna)

Hanuman = Mythological entity who resembles a monkey leaping

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 bending over your extended leg bringing your knee to your nose. Hold here for a few deep breaths increasing the intensity of the stretch at every exhale. Release.

3. Come into a high lunge with your right leg forwards and drop your left knee to the ground. Shift your weight forwards and come down to your forearms placed in the inside of your right leg. Feel your back thigh start to open up as you lower your chest down. Hold here for a few deep breaths, again increasing the intensity at every exhale. Release the stretch and when you are comfortable, practice the full version of the pose by continuing on to the next step.

4. Again bring your right foot out as in steps 1 and 2 and slowly start to shift your weight forwards and back, lowering your tailbone down to the ground with the help of your hands 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 and back

5. Inhale and reach your arms over head, keeping the shoulder blades down and palms facing each other and bring your hands into prayer position in the center of your chest.

6. Stay in this pose between 30 seconds to one minute. Practice again, this time switching to the left leg forwards.

Benefits
- Intensely stretches the hamstrings, groin muscle and thighs
- Improves balance and focus

Cautions
- Hamstring injury
- Quadricep injury
- Groin injury

 


 

 


Twist Dedicated to the Sage Bharadvaja I / Bharadvajasana I

(bah-ROD-va-JAHS-anna)

Bharadvaja = one of seven legendary seers credited with composing the hymns collected in the Vedas

1. From Dandasana place your right hand down beside you for support and bend both of your legs so that both of your feet curl under and to the left.  Keep your knees as close together as possible.  Your right foot will be under the outside of your left buttock and your left foot beside your right.

2. Twisting to the right place your left hand on your right knee.  Exhale and twist more to your right leading with your gaze. Keep your neck straight.  Reach around your back with your right arm and your palm facing outward.  Grab onto your left bicep.

Benefits
- Stretches your spine, shoulders and hip flexors
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Relieves sciatica

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

 


 

 


Heron Pose / Krounchasana

(crow-unch-AHS-anna)
krounch= Heron

1. Begin by sitting on your ankles, knees bent. Roll your calves and feet to the outside of your thighs into Hero Pose. Keep your knees together.  If this is uncomfortable, double up your mat to create a good cushion for your knees and ankles. Lengthen up through your spine and keep your shoulder blades down.

2. Extend your left leg out in front of you and engage your left leg. Keep your knees glued together and keep both sitting bones evenly placed on the floor.

3. Lean slightly forward and grab the outside edge of your left foot with your right hand. Exhale and bend your left leg and extended it straight up to the sky. Without lifting your sitting bones or right knee off the floor, use both arms to help you pull in a little closer and extend your leg up.

4. Reach over the arch of your left foot with your right hand and grab on to the wrist of your left arm. With every exhale, continue to lengthen up and keep the spine as vertical as possible.

5. Keep your gaze forwards and hold for 10-30 seconds. Slowly release and practice again, this time switching to the other leg.

Benefits
- Intensely stretches hamstrings
- Opens the hip joints
- Stretches the knees and ankles
- Stretches the shoulders

Cautions
- Knee or ankle injury
- Pregnancy

 


 

 


Adept’s Pose / Siddhasana

(sid-HAHS-anna)

siddha = accomplished, fulfilled, perfected

1. From Dandasana bend your right leg in until your heel is at your centre.  Bend your left leg and place your left heel on top of your right.  Your left inside ankle will rest just behind your right interior ankle.

2. Keeping your back straight, your bellybutton puuled in and your shoulder blades down your back, place the backs of your hands on their corresponding knees.

3. Place your thumbs and forefingers together symbolizing union between body and mind.

Benefits
- Strengthens your neck and spine
- Opens your hips and knee joints

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

 


 




Full Sideways Split / Samakonasana

(sam-ah-cone-AHS-anna)

sama= same, equal
kona=angle

1. Initially, practice Upavistha Konasana to improve flexibility for Samakonasana, when you are comfortable with this posture, continue on to the steps below.

2. From a seated position with your legs extended out in front of you, open your legs to the side as much as you are able.

3. Bring your hands down in front of you for support. Keep your legs glued down and try to shift your pelvis in a little closer, trying to make your legs in a straight line. Keep your legs strong but not hyper extended. Variation: Practice with a wall in front of you and use the wall for support to help you inch in a little closer.

4. When you have opened your legs to their current maximum capacity, inhale and lengthen up through the spine keeping your tailbone in contact with the ground. Bring your hands into prayer at the center of your chest and gaze forwards. Maintain the pose for up to one minute and release, practicing again if you wish.

Benefits
- Stretches the quadriceps, groin and hamstrings
- Stretches the chest
- Stimulates abdominal organs

Cautions
- Back injury
- Groin injury

 


 




Cow Face Pose / Gomukhasana

(go-moo-KHAS-anna)

go=cow
mukha=face

1. Start by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana with your sitting bones firmly planted on the ground, chest is expanded open and shoulder blades down. Lengthen up through your spine and reach the crown of your head to the sky.

2.  Bend your legs and take your right leg and cross it over your left leg so that your knees are stacked upon each other. Lower your knees to the ground and rest the outside edges of your feet on the ground. Try to align your knees in the center of your body with your feet evenly distributed on each side.

3. Reach your left arm up and bend it over your shoulder lowering your hand down. Exhale and bend your right arm behind your back. Move your hands towards each other and if you are able clasp them together behind your back. Keep your head up and gaze forwards. Maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds. Release your legs and practice again this time switching leg position.

Benefits
- Stretches and opens the knees
- Stretches the hip flexors and ankles
- Stretches the shoulders, triceps
- Stretches the Latissimus dorsi

Cautions
- Knee injury
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder injury

 


 

 


Lion Pose (Full Lotus Var.) / Simhasana

(sim-HAHS-anna)

simha = lion

1. Begin by sitting in full lotus. Variation: To decrease difficulty, place your legs in half lotus or sit cross-legged.

2. Place your palms on the floor in front of you and shift your weight all the way forwards rocking forwards on to your knees. Lower your legs in louts all the way down so that your thighs are resting on the ground. Lift your chest up and keep your shoulder blades down. Try to keep your belly button in contact with the ground. Curl your fingers in placing the tips of your fingers on the ground as if imitating the claws of a cat. Variation: Place your palms flat on the ground.

3. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, tip your head back slightly and simultaneously open your mouth as wide as you can while stretching your tongue out down to your chin. Yell out a deep and loud powerful “roar” sound while activating the muscles in the front of your throat.  As you release your breath, you may try gazing upwards to your forehead or nose. Repeat as many times as you like and practice again switching leg position if they are crossed.

Benefits
- Stretches the tongue and hyoid muscles
- Activates the diaphragms
- Tones the platysma (throat muscle)
- Releases stress and tension
- Releases the hips

Cautions
- Knee injury

 


 




Twist Dedicated to the Sage Marichi (Prep.) / Marichyasana II

(mar-ee-chee-AHS-anna)

Marichi = the great-grandfather of Manu, the Vedic Adam and the father of humanity
Literal translation = ray of light

1. From Dandasana bend your right leg and place your right foot in the crook of your upper left thigh and hip keeping your right knee on the ground. Bend your left leg, keeping your right toes locked between your torso and left thigh, and place the sole of your left foot flat on the ground as close to your left buttock as possible.

2. Supporting yourself with your right hand on the ground, twist to the right from your bellybutton and bring your left shoulder on the inside of your left knee. Reach with your left arm around your left knee and behind your back.

3. Exhaling, twist more to the right and bring your right hand around your back until your left hand can grab onto your right wrist. Gaze straight ahead and bring your hands as close to the ground as you can.

Preparation
For beginners please try the following versions of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose first: Keep your left leg straight instead of bringing your left foot to your right buttock and keep your right foot on the inside of your right thigh. Wrap your left arm around your right bent leg without bringing your elbow to the outside. Place your right hand to the back and twist looking toward the back of the room.

Once you get used to this gentle twist you can add the different elements such as

1. Crossing your right leg over your left.

2. Bringing your left foot to your right buttock.

3. Bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right leg.

4. Straightening your left arm and grabbing onto your right foot and

5. Reaching your right arm around your back and grab onto your inner left thigh.

Practice Virasana and Supta Virasana until you are comfortable in those poses. Practice Lotus and Half Lotus until you are comfortable in those poses.

Benefits
- Stretches your hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists and spine
- Stimulates internal organs
- Relieves sciatica

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

 


 




Bound Archer Pose / Baddha Akarna Dhanurasana

(Bad-AH ack-are-NAH don-your-AHS-anna)

baddha= bound
akarna= near the ear
dhanu= bow

1. Begin by sitting in Dandasana, legs extended out straight in front of you. Take your right leg with both your hands and place it over your right shoulder.

2. Take your left arm and grab onto the outside edge of your right foot. Straighten your right arm and place it on the ground palm facing down a few inches forward of your hip.

3. Exhale and begin to straighten the right leg completely. Keep both legs engaged and use the pressure against your right shoulder to help you lift and keep your chest rotated open. Once your leg is straight, drop it down a couple of inches so that it is approximately at a 45 degree angle with the ground.

4. When you feel stable in the pose, drop your left arm behind and bind your left wrist with your right hand. Gaze towards the sky. Maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds. Exhale, come down slowly and practice the other leg.

Benefits
- Stretches the hamstrings, groin and hip flexors
- Stretches open the chest and shoulders
- Strengthens the arm and legs

Cautions
- Shoulder Injury
- Ankle injury
- Asthma

 


 




Cow Face Pose (Variation) / Gomukhasana

(go-moo-KHAS-anna)

go=cow
mukha=face

1. Start by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana with your sitting bones firmly planted on the ground, chest is expanded open and shoulder blades down. Lengthen up through your spine and reach the crown of your head to the sky.

2.  Bend your legs and take your right leg and cross it over your left leg so that your knees are stacked upon each other. Lower your knees to the ground and rest the outside edges of your feet on the ground. Try to align your knees in the center of your body with your feet evenly distributed on each side.

3. Place your hands on your knees.

4. Keep your head up and gaze forwards. Maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds. Release your legs and practice again this time switching leg position.

Benefits
- Stretches and opens the knees
- Stretches the hip flexors and ankles
- Develops concentration

Cautions
- Knee injury
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder injury

 


 




Garland Pose (Var.) / Malasana

(mal-AHS-ana)

mala= garland

1. From Tadasana, lift your arms out in front of you at shoulder height, keeping your arms parallel to the floor.  Brace your core and bend your knees and start to lower down with control coming all the way down to the floor so that your feet are flat on the floor and your chest is at knee level.

3. Open your knees slightly wider than shoulder width apart coming into a deep squat. Shift your weight slightly forwards and place your hands into prayer position at the center of the chest. Use your elbows to help press back the knees and prevent them from collapsing inwards. Keep your torso parallel to the ground and tail bone tucked under. Gaze forwards towards the horizon.

4. Stay in the pose for 15 seconds to a minute and slowly stand back up with control, or place your hands back down to the floor and hop into Chaturanga Dandasana to exit the pose.

Benefits
- Improves balance and concentration
- Strengthens ankles
- Strengthens core
- Stretches shoulders

Cautions
- Ankle injury
- Pregnancy

 


 




Lotus Pose / Padmasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Keeping your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back, place the backs of your hands on their corresponding knees.

3. Place your thumbs and forefingers together symbolizing union between body and mind.

Preparation
Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees and ankles
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 




Lotus (Variation 2.)/ Yoga Padmasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back. Reach behind your back and clasp your hands together. Straighten your arms.

4. Straighten your spine and exhale bending forward from your hips until your chin touches the floor in front of you bringing your arms up and around your back until they are pointing straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your palms together

Preparation
-Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus.
-Practice binding poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose to open your hips and knees.
-Practice Full Forward Bend and Pachimottanasana until you are comfortable in forward bends in combination with the previous poses mentioned as well.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees, ankles, shoulders and chest
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 

 


Boat Pose (Variation) / Navasana

(nah nah-VAHS-anna)

nava=boat

1. Sit down with your legs extended out in front of you. Lift your tail bone up and expand open your chest. Pull your belly button back towards your spine. Place your hands palms facing down at either side of your hips.

2. Tip back slightly and bend your legs. Bring your feet up off the floor so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Make sure to place equal weight on your sitting bones. You may grab on to the backs of your knees initially to help stabilize your self.

3. Slowly start to straighten the legs completely and point your toes up to the sky. As you lift, engage your core and keep your belly pulled in. Keep your chest expanded and shoulders down.

4. When your legs are straightened, lower your hands back down to the ground and rest them flat beside your hips. Tuck your chin in slightly and gaze forwards to lengthen out the back of the neck.

5. Maintain the pose for at least 10 seconds and gradually increase the length of the pose as you develop greater core strength.

Benefits
- Strengthens and tones the core, abdominals and spine
- Helps to improve digestion
- Improves balance
- Increases stamina

Cautions
- Low blood pressure
- Pregnancy
- Asthma

 


 

 


Archer Pose II  / Akarna  Dhanurasana II

(ack-are-NAH don-your-AHS-anna)

akarna = near the ear
dhanu = bow

1. Begin by sitting in Dandasana, legs extended out straight in front of you. Exhale and bend forward from the hips just enough to grab onto each of your big toes with your pointer and index fingers and wrap your thumb around forming a nice firm grip on your toes.

2. Inhale and bend the right knee. Lift your foot off the ground and pull your foot up as high as your right ear. Bend your right arm back and reach your elbow up high as if you were drawing a bow and arrow. Keep your left foot engaged and both sitting bones on the ground evenly. Variation: To increase difficulty, keep both legs straight as you lift your foot to the sky.

3. Exhale and straighten your right leg all up to the sky. Keep your gaze forwards. Maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds. Release and slowly come down with control, maintaining the toe lock as you lower. Hold for a second and repeat this time lifting the left leg up.

Benefits
- Stretches the hamstrings, knees and lower back
- Develops coordination
- Increases flexibility in the knees and ankles
- Strengthens the arms

Cautions
- Knee injury
- Ankle injury

 


 




Lion Pose (Hero Pose Variation) / Simhasana

(sim-HAHS-anna)

simha = lion

1. Begin by sitting on the heels and crossing your ankles. Variation: you may also keep both legs uncrossed behind you if crossing them is uncomfortable.

2. Place your palms on the floor in front of you and curl your fingers in placing the tips of your fingers on the ground as if imitating the claws of a cat.

3. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, tip your head back slightly and simultaneously open your mouth as wide as you can while stretching your tongue out down to your chin. Yell out a deep and loud powerful “roar” sound while activating the muscles in the front of your throat.

4. As you release your breath, you may try gazing upwards to your forehead or nose. Repeat as many times as you like and practice again switching leg position if they are crossed.

Benefits
- Stretches the tongue and hyoid muscles
- Activates the diaphragms
- Tones the platysma (throat muscle)
- Releases stress and tension

Cautions
- Knee injury

 


 




Lion Pose (Full Lotus Var.) / Simhasana

(sim-HAHS-anna)

simha = lion

1. Begin by sitting in full lotus. Variation: To decrease difficulty, place your legs in half lotus or sit cross-legged.

2. Place your palms on the floor in front of you and shift your weight all the way forwards rocking forwards on to your knees. Lower your legs in louts all the way down so that your thighs are resting on the ground. Lift your chest up and keep your shoulder blades down. Try to keep your belly button in contact with the ground. Curl your fingers in placing the tips of your fingers on the ground as if imitating the claws of a cat. Variation: Place your palms flat on the ground.

3. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, tip your head back slightly and simultaneously open your mouth as wide as you can while stretching your tongue out down to your chin. Yell out a deep and loud powerful “roar” sound while activating the muscles in the front of your throat.  As you release your breath, you may try gazing upwards to your forehead or nose. Repeat as many times as you like and practice again switching leg position if they are crossed.

Benefits
- Stretches the tongue and hyoid muscles
- Activates the diaphragms
- Tones the platysma (throat muscle)
- Releases stress and tension
- Releases the hips

Cautions
- Knee injury

 


 




Child’s Pose / Balasana

(BAH-las-anna)

Bala = young, childish, not fully grown

1. Kneel on your shins with the top of your feet on the floor and your toes facing the back of the room. Rest the back of your thighs on your calves.

2. Exhale and bend from the waist and rest your torso against your thighs. Place your forehead on the floor in front of you. Work your buttocks toward your heels until they rest comfortably.

3. Place your arms on the ground beside you with your palms facing up beside your feet.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
- Calms the brain

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a knee injury

 


 

 

Upward Facing Forward Bend/ Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana

(OORD-vah Moo-kha Posh-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)

urdhva = upward
mukha = face
paschima = back of body, west side
uttana = stretched

1. Sit down with your legs extended out in front of you. Lift your tail bone up and expand open your chest. Pull your belly button back towards your spine. Place your hands palms facing down at either side of your hips. Tip back slightly and bend your legs. Bring your feet up as high as your knees so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Make sure to place equal weight on your sitting bones. You may grab on to the backs of your knees initially to help stabilize your self.

2. Grab on to your big toes with your index and middle fingers and slowly start to straighten your legs completely. Point your toes up to the sky. As you lift, engage your core and keep your belly pulled in. Keep your chest expanded and shoulders down. Pull your self in as close to your legs as possible.

3. Release your right arm and place your fingertips on the ground as far forward as you need to straighten your arm completely.  Release your left arm and use it to help keep your legs lifted and core stabilized. When you feel confident, release your left arm down to the ground as you did with your right arm.  Stay tucked in and keep your forehead to your shins. Maintain the pose for at least 10 seconds and gradually increase the length of the pose as you develop greater core strength.

Benefits
- Greatly strengthens and tones the core, abdominals and spine
- Helps to improve digestion
- Improves balance
- Increases stamina
- Strengthens and stretches the backs of the legs

Cautions
- Low blood pressure
- Pregnancy
- Asthma

 


 

 


Thunderbolt Pose / Vajrasana

(vahj-RAHS-anna)

vajra = thunderbolt

1. Kneel on your shins with the top of your feet on the floor and your toes facing the back of the room. Rest the back of your thighs on your calves.

2. Keep your spine straight with your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back. Work your buttocks toward your heels until they rest comfortably.

3. Place your hands on the corresponding knees and gaze forward.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
- Calms the brain

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a knee injury

 


 

 


Lotus (Variation)/ Yoga Padmasana

(pod-MAHS-anna)

padma = lotus

1. From Dandasana bending your right leg and pulling your right foot toward you using your hands place the top of your right foot at the top of your left thigh or in the crook of your left hip.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back. Reach behind your back and clasp your hands together. Straighten your arms.

4. Straighten your spine and exhale bending forward from your hips until your chin touches the floor in front of you bringing your arms up and around your back until they are pointing straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your palms together

Preparation
1.Practice Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Half Lotus before practicing Full Lotus.

2.Practice binding poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose to open your hips and knees.

3.Practice Full Forward Bend and Pachimottanasana until you are comfortable in forward bends in combination with the previous poses mentioned as well.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees, ankles, shoulders and chest
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 




Tortoise Pose / Supta Kurmasana (Var. Uncrossed Legs.)

(soup-tah cure-mahs-anna)

Supta= sleeping, lying
kurma= turtle

1. Prepare for this pose by standing with your toes turned outwards and heels approximately hip distance apart. Bend forwards and take hold of your right ankle with both your hands and inch your shoulder underneath your knee.

2. Reach your right arm upwards to your back and grab hold of your left hand or wrist. Slowly try straightening the legs while maintaining the bind. Release and practice the left side.

3.Practice again from standing, this time taking your right, then left shoulder underneath your knees. This time reach both your arms up behind your back and see if you can grab hold of your hands. Straighten your legs. Once you have experience with the preparatory steps, try the full version below.

4. Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you and take your right leg and place it behind your head at the base of your neck. Take your left foot and place it behind your head crossing over your right behind your neck.

5. With the help of your hands for stability, shift your weight forwards and bring your feet to the ground followed by your chest. With your palms flat on the ground, lower down and slowly bring your forehead and feet to the ground. Reach your arms back behind your lower back and clasp your hands together.

6. Maintain the pose for up to one minute and release. Practice again this time switching to the other leg first.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches legs hamstrings, hip flexors and calves.
-Intensely stretches the shoulders, chest and arms.
-Strengthens and stretches the lumbar spine.

Cautions
-Back injury. Shoulder injury. Asthma. Pregnancy

 


 




The Great Seal / Maha Mudra

(mah-ha moo-drah)

maha= a bandha, internal lock
mudra= hand gesture used in yoga and meditation

1. Begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana.

2. Bend your right leg and bring your foot in towards your groin resting the bottom of your foot against the inside of your left thigh.

3. Inhale and sweep your arms over head, lengthening up though the spine as you breathe in. Grab your right wrist with your left hand.

4. Exhale and tip from the hips maintaining your length in the spine as you bend over part way so that your torso is long and straight at approximately a 45 degree angle from the ground.

5. Engage your three bandhas-gently tuck your chin in, pull your belly button back to your spine, and tighten up your perineum resulting in a slight pelvic tilt in. and bring your hands to the sole of your foot. Variation: If you are unable to bring your hands around your soles, hold on to your shin or big toe. Do not round your back in order to reach your hands lower.

6. Maintain the pose for any where from 30 seconds to one minute. Exhale, release and practice again this time switching to the other side.

Benefits
-Stimulates the liver and abdominal organs.
-Stretches the hamstrings and calves.
-Helps to relax the brain and de-stress.
-Stretches the spine and shoulders.

Cautions
-Knee or wrist injury, use modifications. Asthma

 


 



Pose dedicated to the Sage Vamadeva I / Vamadevasana I

(vah-ma-dev-AHS-anna)

Vamadeva = A sage or god entrusted with destruction

1. Practice Mulabandhasana firstly by placing the soles of the feet together letting your knees drop down to the sides. Draw the heels of your feet as close as possible to your groin. Place your hands behind you and slightly lift up shifting your weight forwards on to the ball of your feet. Let your knees drop to the ground. As you become more open with the pose over time, place your heel together and start rotating even further forward with the front your heels eventually working them down parallel to the floor. Once you have practiced this, follow the next steps below to work into Vamaddevasana I.

2. Come to a seated half louts position with your right foot resting in the hip crease of your left hip. Place your hands on the ground behind you and shift your weight forwards coming on to the ball of your left foot with your heal raised off the ground as high as you are able. The heel of your foot should comfortably rest on the perineum.

3. Begin to rotate the ankle and foot forwards rotating it completely until you are able to rest the inside heel on the ground. Lower both knees to the ground. Grab on to your right knee with you left hand and lengthen the spine while rotating it to the right. Variation: If you are able, place your palm flat on the ground and tuck your fingers under your right knee.

4. Bring your left arm behind your back and bind onto the big toe or top of the right foot. Maintain the pose for up to 30 seconds, release and practice again this time switching to the other side.

Benefits
-Allows fresh blood to enter the spinal column.
-Stretches the spine. Opens the knees, hips and ankles.
-Stretches the chest and shoulders. Stimulates abdominal organs.

Cautions
-Ankle injury or knee injury, use modifications

 


 




Open Angle Seated Forward Bend (Var.) / Upavistha Konasana

(oo-pah-VEESH-tah cone-AHS-anna)

upvistha = seated, sitting
kona= angle

1. Start in a seated position with your legs out in front of you. Exhale and open your legs to the sides at approximately 80% of your capacity.

2. Place your hands on the ground in front of you and slowly tip from the hips walking your hands out gradually. As you exhale, walk your hands down further each time so that eventually your chest can rest on the floor comfortably with your arms extended out in front of you. Be sure to rotate from the hips and keep your neck and back long. Do not round through the back to try to reach your head down.

3. Reach your arm behind your back and clasp your hands together. Exhale and reach your arms up eventually working them towards the sky.

4. Look up and rest your chin on the floor. Maintain the pose for up to one minute and repeat if you like going deeper into the pose each time.

Benefits
-Stretches the quadriceps, groin and hamstrings
-Strengthens and stretches your lumbar spine
-Intensely stretches the chest and shoulders
-Stimulates abdominal organs

Cautions
-Back injury
-Groin injury

 


 

 


Easy Seated Pose / Sukhasana

(suk-HAS-anna)

sukha = easy, comfortable, gentle

1. From Dandasana cross your legs placing your right foot underneath the outside of your left calf and the outside/top of your left foot resting on the inside of your right calf.

2. Keeping your back straight, your bellybutton puuled in and your shoulder blades down your back, place the backs of your hands on their corresponding knees.

3. Place your thumbs and forefingers together symbolizing union between body and mind.

Benefits
-Strengthens your neck and spine
- Opens your hips and knee joints

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

 


 

 


Tortoise Pose / Kurmasana

(cure-mahs-anna)

kurma= turtle

1. Prepare for this pose by standing with your toes turned outwards and heels approximately hip distance apart. Bend forwards and take hold of your right ankle with both your hands and inch your shoulder underneath your knee.

2. Reach your right arm upwards to your back and grab hold of your left hand or wrist. Slowly try straightening the legs while maintaining the bind. Release and practice the left side.

3.Practice again from standing, this time taking your right, then left shoulder underneath your knees. This time reach both your arms up behind your back and see if you can grab hold of your hands. Straighten your legs. Once you have experience with the preparatory steps, try the full version below.

4. Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you and take your right leg and place it high on your right shoulder. Take your left leg and place it high on your left shoulder.

5. With the help of your hands for stability, shift your weight forwards and bring your feet to the ground followed by your chest. With your palms flat on the ground, start to straighten the legs out completely keeping your knees high up on your shoulders. Keep squeezing your inner thighs together. Your feet should be as parallel as possible and arms extending out to the sides with fingers expanded wide open.

6. Keep your gaze forwards and rest your chin on the ground. Maintain the pose for up to one minute and release.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches legs hamstrings, hip flexors and calves.
-Intensely stretches the shoulders, chest and arms.
-Strengthens and stretches the lumbar spine.

Cautions
-Back injury. Shoulder. Asthma.

 


 




Archer Pose I / Akarna Dhanurasana I

(ack-are-NAH don-your-AHS-anna)

Akarna= Near the ear
Dhanu= Bow

1. Begin by sitting in Dandasana, legs extended out straight in front of you. Exhale and bend forward from the hips just enough to grab onto each of your big toes with your pointer and index fingers and wrap your thumb around forming a nice firm grip on your toes.

2. Inhale and bend the right knee. Lift your foot off the ground and pull your foot up as high as your right ear. Bend your right arm back and reach your elbow up high as if you were drawing a bow and arrow. Keep your left foot engaged and both sitting bones on the ground evenly.

3. Gaze forwards. Exhale and come slowly down, maintaining the toe lock as you lower down. Hold for a second and repeat this time lifting the left leg up.

Benefits
-Stretches the hamstrings, knees and lower back
-Develops coordination
-Increases flexibility in the knees and ankles
-Strengthens the arms

Cautions
-Knee injury
-Ankle injury

 


 

 


Noose Pose / Pasasana

(posh-AHS-anna)

pasa=noose, trap snare

1. From standing, bend your knees and come all the way down to the ground in a full squat. Try to place your feet flat on the floor. Variation: To decrease intensity, keep your heels off the floor a few inches and use a doubled up yoga mat or blanket to support your heels.

2. Place your left hand on your left hip. Inhale and reach the right arm up. Exhale and twist your torso to the left side lowering your right arm over your left knee. Lengthen up though your spine and rotate your chest to the sky as much as you are able. If you are comfortable, try bringing your hands into prayer position at the center of the chest in front of your left knee. Variation: To help with stability and balance, practice beside a wall.

3.Pressing your right shoulder on to your left knee firmly, exhale and release your right arm and extend it around your knees and shins to your back. Without sacrificing your rotation, release the left arm and bend it behind your back reaching for your right arm. Bind your arms if you are able. Gaze up to the sky. Try to maintain the pose for a few seconds at a time gradually increasing your time in this pose as you become more stable. Release and practice again on the other side.

Benefits
-Improves balance
-Strengthens the ankles
-Stimulates abdominal organs and digestion
-Stretches the chest, shoulders

Cautions
-Ankle injury
-Back pain or injury

 


 




Hero Pose with Arms Overhead / Urdhva Hastasana Virasana

(OORD-va has-TAHS-anna veer-AHS-anna)

urdhva = overhead
hasta = hand
vira = hero, cheif

1. Kneel on your shins with the top of your feet on the floor and your toes facing the back of the room. Rest the back of your thighs on your calves.

2. Keeping your knees together spread your ankles apart and work your buttocks toward the ground.

2. Keep your spine straight with your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back. Work your buttocks toward your heels until they rest comfortably.

3. Clasp your hands together and straighten your arms above your head. Rotate your wrists so your palms face the sky keeping your shoulder blades down your back.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
- Calms the brain

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a knee injury

 


 




Revolved Head-to-Knee-Pose / Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana

(par-ee-vrit-TAH jah-new shear-SHAS-anna)

parivrtta= revolved, turned around
janu= knee
sirsa= head

1. Begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you as in Dandasana. Bend your right leg and bring your foot in towards your groin resting the bottom of your right foot against the inside of your left thigh.

2. Inhale and sweep your arms over head, lengthening up though the spine as you breathe in. Lower your left hand to your left shin. Exhale and bend from the waist lowering to your left side. Simultaneously, lift your right arm up and reach it to the sky gazing up. Rotate your chest up, but keep your shoulder blades down your back. Hold for a few deep breaths and release.

3. As you become more comfortable with this pose, try the next phase by lowering your left forearm down to the inside of your left shin and rotating the chest up to the sky. Exhale and lower even further this time grabbing on to the sole of the foot with your left arm. Lower your right arm down to grab the outside edge of your left foot. Use your hands grabbing on to your foot to help lengthen your torso up and sink deeper into the pose. Try to work the top of your right shoulder into the ground as you rotate up to the sky.

4. Keep your gaze up to the sky and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Release and practice again this time switching to the left side.

Benefits
-Stimulates the liver and abdominal organs.
-Stretches the hamstrings and calves. Helps to relax the brain and de-stress.
-Stretches the spine, shoulders, and chest. Stretches obliques and side of torso.

Cautions
-Knee or wrist injury, use modifications. Asthma. Back Injury

 


 




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

(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 place the back of your hands on your ankle and knee pointing up.  Gaze straight ahead.

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

 


 




Embryo Pose / Garbha Pindasana

(gar-BHA pin-DHAS-anna)

garbha=interior (of a Hindu temple)
Pinda= Embryo, small ball

1.Start by sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position. Take your left arm and hook it under your left knee. Bring your left foot to your right hip crease as in half lotus. Place your left hand on the floor in front of you.

2. Take your right foot and cross it over your left resting on your left hip crease. Slide your right arm in between your right knee crease. Place your right arm on the ground in front of you. Both arms should now be place underneath your knees while your legs are in full lotus.

3. Shift all your weight back onto your sitting bones and lift your knees completely off the floor. Keep your shoulder blades down and crown of the head lifted to the sky. You may use your hands to help you balance initially. As you feel stable, bring both hands up to your cheeks and hold.

4. Maintain the pose for a few seconds at a time gradually increasing your time as you are more comfortable with the asana. Lower down to the floor with control to exit the pose. Practice again this time alternating leg position in lotus.

Benefits
-Stretches the hip flexors, knees and ankles
-Strengthens the core
-Improves balance and flexibility

Cautions
-Carpal tunnel
-Knee Injury

 


 




Root Chakra Pose (Var.) / Mulabandhasana

(moola-ban-DAHS-anna)

mula = root, foundation, bottom
bandha = bound, bind

1. From Dandasana bend your right leg and bring the inside of your calf toward your chest pulling your right foot with your left hand.

2. Put your right arm through the gap in your right leg hooking your right calf in your right elbow.  Bending your right arm back until your right hand can grab the inside of your right foot.

3. Bend your right ankle toward the floor with your right hand placing your toes on the ground at your centre.  Your toes will be bent toward the right. Bend your left leg and bring the inside of your calf toward your chest pulling your left foot with your right hand.

4. Put your left arm through the gap in your left leg hooking your left calf in your left elbow.  Bending your left arm back until your left hand can grab the inside of your left foot. Bend your left ankle toward the floor with your right hand placing your toes on the ground at your centre.  Your toes will be bent toward the left and heels will be touching.

5. Reach your hands between your groins and ankles and grab onto the outside of your big toes and pull them toward you, gradually start to roll over on your feet so that the insides of your feet are working down to the ground, working on opening the knees and hips.

6. Engage your three bandhas and gently tuck your chin in, pull your belly button back to your spine, and tighten up your perineum resulting in a slight pelvic tilt in. Bring your hands to your knees, index finger and thumbs touching. Maintain the pose for as long as you are able.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees and ankles
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

Cautions
- Knee, hip, ankle or back injury

 


 

 


Root Chakra Pose (Variation) / Mulabandhasana

(moola-ban-DAHS-anna)

mula = root, foundation, bottom
bandha = bonding, tying, bond

1. From Dandasana bend your right leg and bring the inside of your calf toward your chest pulling your right foot with your left hand.

2. Put your right arm through the gap in your right leg hooking your right calf in your right elbow. Bending your right arm back until your right hand can grab the inside of your right foot.

3. Bend your right ankle toward the floor with your right hand placing your toes on the ground at your centre. Your toes will be bent toward the right.

5. Bend your left leg and bring the inside of your calf toward your chest pulling your left foot with your right hand.

6. Put your left arm through the gap in your left leg hooking your left calf in your left elbow. Bending your left arm back until your left hand can grab the inside of your left foot.

7. Bend your left ankle toward the floor with your right hand placing your toes on the ground at your centre. Your toes will be bent toward the left and heels will be touching.

8. Place your hands behind you and lift your buttocks slightly off the ground walking your torso forward until your feet are vertical to the ground with your heels still touching and your spine is straight. Gaze forward.

Preparation
-Practice Virasana and Supta Virasana until you are comfortable in those poses.
-Practice Lotus and Half Lotus until you are comfortable in those poses.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips, groins, knees and ankles
- Stimulates pelvis, spine and abdomen
- Calms the brain

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

 


 




Tortoise Pose / Supta Kurmasana (Var. Uncrossed Legs.)

(soup-tah cure-mahs-anna)

Supta= sleeping, lying
kurma= turtle

1. Prepare for this pose by standing with your toes turned outwards and heels approximately hip distance apart. Bend forwards and take hold of your right ankle with both your hands and inch your shoulder underneath your knee.

2. Reach your right arm upwards to your back and grab hold of your left hand or wrist. Slowly try straightening the legs while maintaining the bind. Release and practice the left side.

3.Practice again from standing, this time taking your right, then left shoulder underneath your knees. This time reach both your arms up behind your back and see if you can grab hold of your hands. Straighten your legs. Once you have experience with the preparatory steps, try the full version below.

4. Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you and take your right leg and place it behind your head at the base of your neck. Take your left foot and place it behind your head crossing over your right behind your neck.

5. With the help of your hands for stability, shift your weight forwards and bring your feet to the ground followed by your chest. With your palms flat on the ground, lower down and slowly bring your forehead and feet to the ground. Reach your arms back behind your lower back and clasp your hands together.

6. Maintain the pose for up to one minute and release. Practice again this time switching to the other leg first.

Benefits
-Intensely stretches legs hamstrings, hip flexors and calves.
-Intensely stretches the shoulders, chest and arms.
-Strengthens and stretches the lumbar spine.

Cautions
-Back injury. Shoulder injury. Asthma. Pregnancy

 


 




Half Cow Face Forward Bend (Variation) / Ardha Gomukha Paschimottanasana

(ARD-ha go-MOO-kah POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)

ardha = half
go = cow
mukha = face
pascha = behind, after, later, westward
uttana = intense stretch

1. From Dandasana bend your right leg and place it over your left leg so that your right knee is stacked on top of your left and your right heel is beside your left buttock with the top of your foot on the ground.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back. Exhaling, bend forward from your hips and once your hands reach past your left flexed foot grab your right wrist with your left hand. Press your forehead to your shin.

Preparation
-Practice Paschimottanasana and Uttanasanauntil you are comfortable in a forward bend.
-Practice Gomukhasana before attempting Half Cow Face Forward Bend

Benefits
- Stretches your ankles hips, knees, thighs, armpits, shoulders and spine

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

 


 



Half Cow Face Forward Bend / Ardha Gomukha Paschimottanasana

(ARD-ha go-MOO-kah POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)

ardha = half
go = cow
mukha = face
pascha = behind, after, later, westward
uttana = intense stretch

1. From Dandasana bend your right leg and place it over your left leg so that your right knee is stacked on top of your left and your right heel is beside your left buttock with the top of your foot on the ground.

2. Keep your back straight, your bellybutton pulled in and your shoulder blades down your back. Exhaling, bend forward from your hips and place your hands on either side of your left foot and press your forehead to your shin.

3. Keep your left foot flexed and reach forward as far as you can with both hands pulling the bottom of your spine from your pelvis.

Preparation
-Practice Paschimottanasana and Uttanasanauntil you are comfortable in a forward bend.
-Practice Gomukhasana before attempting Half Cow Face Forward Bend

Benefits
- Stretches your ankles hips, knees, thighs, armpits, and spine

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

 


 




Staff Pose / Dandasana

(dan-DHAS-anna)

danda= staff

1. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Shift your glutes so you are sitting on your sitting bones evenly.
Place your hands on either side of your hips and press down lightly to help you lengthen up through the spine. Slide your shoulder blades down the back and keep your spine strong and straight.

2. Engage your legs, pull up though your knee caps and flex your feet pressing your heels forwards.

3. Engage your mula bandha by tightening your perineal muscle resulting in a slight pelvic tilt in. Pull your belly button back to your spine.

4. Tuck your chin in slightly helping to lengthen and stretch out the neck. Hold the pose for approximately one minute.

Benefits
-Corrects posture and aligns the spine
-Opens and stretches the chest
-Stretches the neck and thyroid
-Strengthens the thoratic and lumbar spine

Cautions
-lower back injury

 


 



Lotus Pose with Arms Overhead / Urdhva Hastasana in Padmanasana

1. Sit down on your yoga mat and bring your legs into full lotus position by bringing your right foot in and placing it at your left hip crease followed by your left leg. Variation: If you are unable to sit in full lotus comfortably, stay in half lotus with your right foot crossed on top at either your knee or higher up your hip crease. To decrease intensity, sit cross legged.

2. Keep both sitting bones evenly on the floor and lengthen up your spine from the base of your tail bone to the top of your head. As you exhale, pull the shoulder blades back and down, opening up the chest. Slighly pull your belly button back to your spine.

3. Interlock your fingers in front of you and rotate your palms up towards the sky. Keep your arms straight and reach back with your arms as far as you are able to feel a stretch in the shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades down.

4. Gaze forwards and hold the pose for up to one minute. Practice again, this time switching with the other leg in full lotus.

Benefits
-Stretches the hip flexors, knees, ankles
-Stretches shoulders and opens the chest

Cautions
-Ankle or knee injury
-Shoulder injury

 


 



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

 


 




Forward Seated Bend or West Stretching Bend (Basic Variation) / Pashcimottanasana

(POS-chee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)

pascha = behind or westward
uttana = intense stretch

1. Sit down with your legs extended out in front of you and your feet flexed. Lift your tail bone up and expand open your chest. Pull your belly button back towards your spine. Place your hands palms facing down at either side of your hips.

2. Inhaling reach up over your head and clasp your hands together with straight arms. Keeping your back straight hinge forward from your hips until your hands reach over the bottom of your flexed feet.

Benefits
- Stretches your hamstrings, calves, hips, back and shoulders

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

 


 




Bound One-legged King Pigeon Pose Var. / Eka Pada Baddha Rajakapotasana

(eck-ah pa-da ra-jah-ka-poe-thas-anna)

eka= one
pada=foot
baddha=bound
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.Bend your left leg and draw your foot in with the help of your left arm. As you exhale, draw your foot in a little more so that you are able to wrap your left arm around your left foot comfortably.

4. Bend slightly back and reach your right arm up to the sky and back, bending your right arm to reach your left hand and interlock or hook your fingers together.

5. Keep your hips and chest square to the front and eye gaze forwards. 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




3 Comments for SEATED YOGA POSES


Balachandran - Reply
June 15, 2013, 2:42 am

Attractive poses; one can almost visualize the cosmic energy being attracted to oneself doing those asanas.

Balachandran - Reply
June 15, 2013, 2:45 am

Attractive poses; one can imagine the person doing the asanas as SriParvathy attracting cosmic energy to oneself like the lust of Shiva

    Beautifully put - Reply
    August 21, 2013, 8:58 pm

    the cult of shiva lives on thru yoga ! very inspiring to see these yoginis !





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