Before The Exercise
Best time for practice is either dawn or sunset. In the morning mind is fresh and undisturbed. Practice after a quick shower, before breakfast - some positions exert pressure on the abdomen. If possible, empty bowels prior to practice. Downside of morning exercise are somewhat tighter muscles.
Which is exactly why more people prefer evening practice. You'll feel more wear&tear in the body, but muscles will respond better compared to morning. Allow 2.5 - 3 hours for digestion of the last meal.
Loose clothes made of cotton are good choice. Exercise on a mat or thick blanket - ensure firm contact with the floor. Therefore, it's easier to practice barefooted.
During The Exercise
Observe the way you're breathing right now. Be quick, since observation changes the rythm and air intake.
Now draw one deep breath through nostrils as slowly as possible and notice the difference. Most people are amazed by actual lung capacity compared to small portion they use daily.
Treat warm-up as an initiation of a complete breathing pattern. Let the air flow smoothly, together with movement. This will engage your breath, mind and body.
Make No Sudden Movements
Sudden moves put you out of control and introduce stress to muscles, tendons, ligaments and breathing. Possibility of injury increases and even if it seems you're stretching more, in the long run this approach backfires. Muscles contract from shock. Observe breathing, pauses often indicate you are pushing over the limit.
Allow Absollutely No Discomfort Or Pain
There is no such thing as +pushing the edge; by prolonging the uncomfortable position. Ignoring the warning signal of pain, you fall out of yoga. Approach the edge gently and stay with the breathing while feeling the stretch. Your practice shouldn't be exercise of will power, but a recognition of unity.
Be Aware Of Mind/Body TotalityFocusing exclusively on stretch or contraction, you emphasise disharmony in your body. Ideally, the whole body participates in each position. With senses constantly chasing after desired objects, it's hard being aware of body totality. Start feeling the focal part of position and spread the consciousness through body. This will come automatically with regular practice and right set of mind.
Session begins with a warm-up, as a sort of buffer zone from stress. Mind isn't engaged as in asana practice, but shifts focus from external objects and circumstances to metabolism.
Movement springs from breath. Thus your practice internalises, your abilities as well as limitations can be acknowledged. Chance for injury is practically none. Treat warm-up as an essential preparation for lungs.
After you've improved circulation, breathing and overall feeling in the body, proceed with
which set tone of the session. If vigorous, express it with fully engaged leg muscles spending more time in positions. If drowsy, gently activate body. Wake up the sleepy parts. Standing is the most familiar and commonly used position of all. In yoga practice we approach it consciously and analize body in terms of gravity, lines of energy, opposing muscle groups etc.
In next poses we introduce imbalance to observe details unavailable in symetrical positions, for example disbalances in trunk and legs. At the same time, body is gaining strength through maintaining the pose. Improved flexibility is yet another byproduct of this practice. If you treat it that way, you'll avoid competing with yourself and others.
Final standing position is a tree. Test what you've learned in previous poses while improving concentration and balance (the latter depends heavily on the first).
Reclining PositionsFor this class I've chosen halfbridge, ardha halasana and freeing of the wind, pawanamuktasana. Halfbridge brings life to spine and massages back muscles. Second position takes care of abdominal and spinal health, also releiving muscles cramped from long sitting hours. Also serves as a counterpose for halfbridge and preparatory pose for
here represented with rowing and preparation for classical forward bend, pascimottanasana. Altough rowing reminds of a warm-up, I've included it since forward bends can be a problem for beginners. Muscles which should by elonging enable us to relax into pose are usually stiffened by sitting. Pelvic mobility can also restrict bend. At this point, we'll utilise
Sitting Positionresting and feeling the accumulated effects of practice so far. Class continues with a camel posture, giving the body first hint of later backbends.
Cat/dog is a unique practice for spine health and pelvis mobility. Muscles of the back and abdomen are alternately stretched and flexed, while fresh blood removes toxins from tissues. In the program progression also serves as a mediator between sitting/kneeling poses and
Modern life doesn't require strong back muscles, therefore causing back atrophy of epidemic proportions. You'll perfom only simple preparations for backbends, avoiding any strain. Carefull practice reduces back pain and gradually strenghtens muscles of the back.
After bending spine in both frontal planes, we proceed with basic
which not only produces flexible spine and stronger back and lats, but also massages kidneys and improves digestion.
Crown Of Yoga Asana Practice
Corpse posture (shavasana)
Challenge here is to surrender completly, while staying in the body. Total immobility often brings unexpected insights into one's physiology and energetic structure.
Pranayama and concentration are explained later.
Warm-UpRead this first, then practice using quick summary. That way you.ll maintain tempo and body heat. Apart from the most obvious effect - raising the temperature and easing the movement, lungs get exercised and proper breathing pattern is introduced for rest of the practice. Let the breathing set the tempo. If it quickens, speed up movements. A little sweat is good. Don't wipe it off, it keeps generated heat in the body.
On in-breath look up feeling the frontal neck stretch. Jaw is relaxed. Breathe out, letting the head go down, stretch is now in back of the neck.
Inhale and lift the head turning it over your right shoulder. Don't fix the shoulder, let it turn also. Exhale, bring head to a neutral position and repeat to left.
Exhale back and with the next inhalation let the head go sideways towards right shoulder. Keep breathing and feel the left side of the neck elongating. Don't push, relax in the gravity field. Exhaling come up and inhaling repeat to the left. Spend few more breaths here, since you're elongating what has just been contracted.
Shoulders and Arms
Alternately circle arms from shoulders, few times each direction. Lungs should be full when the hand is in the highest position. Don't pause. Feel the movement translating down the spine.
Then mimic climbing the rope. On inhale, raise arm, make a fist and pull down exhaling. Put some muscle behind it. Alternate arms until a bit tired. Relax for a few breaths. Feel the change in arms and shoulders.
Stand a shoulder width apart, arms by your sides. Inhaling, raise the left arm towards ceiling and with the exhalation start sliding with the right hand down the leg. Left hand should function as an extension of the trunk, so don't bend it too much from the shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Next, interlock the fingers, inhale and raise arms over head and start circling with them as though you were drawing a circle on the ceiling. Repeat few times in one direction, then reverse. Find the breathing pattern that suits you best. Now quickly relax.
Legs are still a shoulder width apart, position hands on your waist and start circling the hips. Feel the movement from the inside. Notice weight distribution through your feet. Reverse and relax.
Alternate between static squat on exhale (feet shoulder width apart, fingers interlocked, palms pointing downwards) and standing on balls of your feet on inhale with arms stretched over head, palms pointing upwards.
- Neck: up, down, right, left, sideways
- Shoulders & Arms: circling, rope climbing
- Trunk: side extension, circling
- Hips: circling
- Legs: squat, raised position
Mountain : teaches the importance of alignment in the gravity field. If ankles and knees are weak, pelvis will be out of balance and muscles which are not gravitational will have to maintain upright position. Weak legs will cause pressure in abdominal organs and eventual loss of their vitality. Contraindications: scoliosis, practice with back against the wall
1. Stand with your feet together, stretching from heels towards fingers. Tighten kneecaps and rotate them slightly inwards. At the same time project navel towards spine, thus keeping pelvis in neutral position.
2. With inhalation decompress abdominal area and keep it high. Proceed relaxing and elongating spine upwards. Keep shoulders away from ears, wide and low. Slightly tighten the space between shoulder blades and open the lungs.
3. Keep arms by the sides, alive . nor too tight nor too soft.
4. Relax the head on top of the neck and find the place where it feels weightless. Look straight. Breathe deeply.
Triangle : benefits legs, hips, shoulders, neck, sides of trunk and overall sense of balance. Contraindications: back conditions
1. Spread feet at 1,5 shoulder width. Keep feet parallel. At the same time spread hands at shoulder level and maintain stretch from shoulder to fingers, or better yet, from fingers to fingers.
2. Turn right foot 90 degrees to the right. Keep left hip open at all times. Pull kneecaps up and keep the legs strong.
3. Exhaling slightly bend right knee and put right elbow above right knee. Project left arm towards the ceiling.
4. Look up. Trunk should feel live, so avoid too much weight in right hand. Stay here for a few breaths, with inhalation come up to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
Repeat 3 times each side. Follow the position if it gets deeper, until you place fingers or palm on the ground.
Trikonasana - TriangleFollow the instructions for preparation. Only difference is front knee which stays straight all the time. Pay extra attention to rear hip, keep opening it while in posture. Contraindications: back conditions
Vrksasana - Tree : develops sense of balance, both physical and emotional. Contraindications: vertigo, heart problems (do not raise arms)
1. Stand in Tadasana. Inhaling, raise right foot from the ground and place it on left leg at the knee level or lower. Keep the hip elevated.
2. Find a balance, aware of inner and outer edge of lower foot as well as fingers and heel. Those are all balancing points now.
3. Bring palms together at heart level. Find a point on the opposite wall at the eye level and mentally hold to it. Inhaling raise arms above head and be motionless for few breaths.
4. With exhalation bring arms to the sides and put your leg down. Stay concentrated, exit the position just as careful as you.ve entered it.
Repeat on the other side.
Reclining positionsHalfbridge : is a counter position for pavanamuktasana. Strengthens the knees, reverses the blood flow towards head supplying fresh blood to thyroid and brings awareness and flexibility to spine. It's especially beneficial for women because it regulates period. Contraindications: peptic or duodenal ulcers, abdominal hernia
1. Lie flat on back and draw heels towards trunk. Spread feet at the hip width. Arms are alive, palms facing the floor.
2. On inhalation, start raising the hips until knees and shoulders are in one straight line and lungs are full.
3. Without a pause go back with exhalation. Feel each vertebra coming down. Draw navel towards spine. This movement will rotate pelvis and enable better separation of vertebrae in the lower spine. Repeat 5-6 times.
4. Go up for the last time and stay there for a few breaths.Pavanamuktasana - Freeing of the wind massages the whole back and abdominal area. It improves digestion and elimination and is a great relief for those suffering of constipation. Knees are flexed in controlled way which aids to knee function. It also prepares the lower back and gluteus muscles for forward bends. Contraindications: high blood pressure, serious back conditions as slipped disc
1. Lie flat on back and draw feet half way to the trunk, knees pointing up.
2. Inhaling raise the right knee and get hold of it with both hands.
3. Start exhaling and bring the knee towards trunk. Feel where the stretch is.
4. Inhaling let the knee, release the grip and with exhalation bring the foot all the way to the floor. Alternate legs 3 times.
5. Finally, bring both knees together for 4-5 deep breaths. This will massage the abdominal area as well as back.
When finished, stay calm for few breaths feeling elongated muscles contracting and vice versa.
Forward bendsRowing prepares for the forward bends. Gently stretches back while strengthening abdominals. Contraindications: sciatica, slipped disc
Sit with legs stretched in front and raise the knees a bit, soles keeping contact with the floor. With inhalation, reach towards feet mimicking the rowing movement. Grab rowing pads and with exhalation pull back. Repeat 10-15 times.
Preparation for Pascimottanasana is essential for healthy spine. It rejuvenates body and increases gastric fire. Immune system is boosted. Contraindications: sciatica, slipped disc
1. Sit with legs spread. Draw left heel towards trunk, place foot along right thigh.
2. Inhale, and when lungs are full start exhaling bending from waist towards the floor. Place arms in front of you.
3. Keep exhaling and start moving arms towards the straight leg. Don't push head towards knee, head and trunk should stay in a straight line.
4. Place arms on the leg. If head is close to knee, relax it there. If not, bend leg at the knee until it supports torso.
Repeat 3 times on each side.
Sitting positionsVajrasana - Diamond Posture is one of the basic meditative postures. Keeping the blood in lower extremities, it supplies extra blood to brain. Improves the knee function and promotes breath awareness. Contraindications: knee problems (sit on the folded blanket or skip it alltogether)
1. Sit on both heels, place hands on knees.
2. Keep spine erect. Be aware of breathing, circulation and pressure felt in legs.
3. Stay like that for 1-2 minutes or while comfortable.
Camel Posture at the same time exercises balance, strengthens knees, lower back and abdominals, stretches trunk in the frontal plane. It introduces back bends which follow in the sequence. Contraindications: lumbago, enlarget thyroid
1. Inhaling kneel and place balls of feet on the ground. Spread knees to hip width.
2. Turn to right, look at the heel and exhaling place right hand around ankle. Push hips back to where they were before you reached down.
3. Inhale raising right arm towards ceiling. Look up.
Repeat to other side.
When done, try twisting variation - left arm holds right ankle and vice versa.
Kneeling positionsCat - dog: Unique exercise for pelvis mobility. It teaches the connection between breath and movement. Spine mobility is improved along with lung capacity. In sequence, serves as transition towards back bends.
Contraindications: recent abdominal/spinal surgery
1. Kneel with knees straight under hips. Palms are on the floor, straight under shoulders. Spine is in neutral position. Inhale.
2. Exhaling look between knees, at the same time pushing upper back towards ceiling and palms into the floor. Finish exhalation actively, from abdomen. You should now resemble a stretching cat. Pelvis is in a forward tilt.
3. Start inhaling, come back to starting position and continue to the other side - look up, jaw relaxed, abdomen is pulling the air and coming towards floor, while back forms a saddle. You should now resemble a yawning dog. Pelvis is in a backward tilt.
Continue moving with breath, repeat 8-10 times.
BackbendsCobra Posture : This exercise gently introduces backbends. Blood supply to lower back and pelvis is increased. Abdominal area is gently stretched while back is contracting and getting stronger. Discomfort coming from bad posture and long sitting hours is relieved.
Contraindications: serious back injuries, recent abdominal surgery
1. Lie flat on belly. Turn palms towards floor and stretch hands forward.
2. Inhaling come up. Use arms to support trunk. Move in 2-3 small phases, placing weight on arms alternately.
3. Keep navel on the floor. Find a comfortable pose and divide weight between lower back and hands. Breathe easy.
4. After few breaths, with exhalation go down using the hands.
Repeat 3 times.
Grasshoper: This asana strengthens the whole back and gives trunk stronger frontal stretch. In cobra posture, back was strengthened by raising trunk, while here legs are raised.
Contraindications: serious back injuries, recent abdominal surgery
1. Lie flat on your belly. Put forehead to the floor. Arms are by the sides, small finger touching leg.
2. Inhaling raise left leg. Push arms into floor and use them as a lever. Hip should stay in the contact with the floor at all times.
3. Exhaling come back. Control the movement and synchronize it completely with breathing.
Repeat 8-10 times. Pause and rest for few breaths, then continue to the other side.
TwistsBasic sitting twist After bending spine both forwards and backwards, it is ready for torsion. It's essential for healthy spine and free vertebrae. If done properly, twisting will massage both liver and kidneys.
1. Sit with legs together and stretched in front of you. Keep the legs alive during this exercise.
2. Draw right foot towards trunk and let the ankle pass the knee. Stretch right leg from hip forwards and keep a light pressure towards floor.
3. Embrace right leg with left arm and draw knee close to armpit. Stay perpendicular to the floor at all times. Put right hand where spine would be if you were on the floor. Inhale, look to your right, turn the whole trunk and extend the spine upwards.
4. Exhaling and keeping the knee close to armpit, look over your right shoulder. Don't engage just the neck, torsion should be felt throughout the whole spine.
Repeat to the other side.
Shavasana - Corpse It is the crown of your practice. All the positions are becoming integrated in your system and subtle effects can be experienced. Body is completely motionless and the mind follows. If it doesn't happen naturally, don't force it. Just acknowledge the thoughts and let them pass without opposition. Once you become aware of them, they dissolve.
1. Lie on your back. Push from hips towards heels and relax.
2. Check lower back. If it's arching too far from the floor, try rotating sitting bones towards heels. If you can't do it, draw feet towards trunk. This movement will bring down lower back and let you relax deeper.
3. Bring shoulders towards waist, imitating the standing position.
4. Release the chin from neck letting the air pass free.
5. Slightly rotate legs and arms left and right few times.
6. Rotate head with neck, then let it stop in the center.
7. Relax the whole body. Feel everything from toes to head. Do it several times. Make last adjustments to the pose.
8. Be completely motionless for some time. Stay in the body.
9. After few minutes, roll to left side and raise to a sitting position.
Breathing ExerciseSit in a relaxed manner. Doesn't matter if you're on the floor or chair as long as spine feels free and abdomen soft and expanded. Close your eyes.
1. Start by observing the breath. Do not change breathing pattern at this time, just pay attention. Notice which parts of respiratory system are more active. Feel how much lung volume is actually used. Hear the sound of breathing. Notice spine extension with each breath.
2. Proceed by gradually deepening the breath. Do so until you reach your comfortable maximum. Do not introduce force.
3. Continue drawing deep breaths for few minutes and try to slow down. Be aware of each breath coming in and going out. If you feel a bit dizzy, maybe you.re starting to hyperventilate. As you.re inhaling more, breathing should be a bit slower.
4. Relax the breath and return to observing. Notice the difference.
Meditation PosturePosture, Legs What the legs are doing is the least important and causes the most pain and fear for many people. Seated meditation can be done in a chair or on the floor - either cross legged or kneeling. There is no mystical value of one position over another, although some positions provide greater stability and long-term ease. What really matters is that the thighs slope down from the pelvis to the knees enough to tilt the pelvis forward. This provides support for the low back.
Full Lotus Posture
Benefits: Provides the classical sitting position for meditation during longer periods of time without bodily movement
Promotes very great elasticity of the ankles, knees, and legs because of the position which is required.
Note: The full lotus position is an advanced yoga position that requires considerable amount of practice to master. If you cannot do half lotus position, you will not be able to do full lotus position.
The Full Lotus
The classic position is full lotus, which requires significant hip and leg flexibility. In full lotus, the legs are crossed, and each ankle is lifted up and placed over the top of the opposite thigh. In half lotus, only one leg is up. Either lotus posture is recommended only when they are easy to maintain; the purpose of the posture is to be comfortable and balanced, so forcing oneself into an awkward position is not helpful.
Half Lotus Posture
Benefits: Relaxes the entire nervous system, Lessens the tension and stiffness in the ankles, knees and thighs and Provides a comfortable sitting position for resting the mind for meditation. Half Lotus sitting position had been used for meditation from time immemorial.
How To Do It?
In a sitting position, stretch your legs straight out before you.
Bend your left leg at the knee and bring it toward you so that you can take hold of your left foot with both hands.
Place your left foot so that the sole rests against the inside of the right thigh. The heel of your left foot should be drawn in as far as possible.
Bend your right leg at the knee so that you can take hold of your right foot with both hands.
Place your right foot in the fold of your left leg. Drop the right knee as far as possible toward the floor. Rest your hands on your knees. Sit in this position as long as needed.When your legs grow tired, stretch them straight out before you and gently massage your knees. Then repeat the position by reversing the legs so that the right leg is drawn in first and the left leg is on top.
Sit like that for some time and you.ll enter dharana or concentration. It's not exercise in breathing any more, but in concentration. Whatever thoughts might come, let them go and return to breath. Stay like that for a few minutes. If you have trouble concentrating on breath, try listening to the sound of it, observe the entry and exit of air, feel movements of the skin. Use anything connected to breathing to allow thoughts constant flow towards it.
Congratulations, you've just finished your first yoga class!
You will find more techniques under Chakra Exercises
This is the link for the yoga program I use
Laya Yoga: The Definitive Guide to the Chakras and Evoking Kundalini
Author : Shyam Sundar Goswami
The most comprehensive guide to chakra meditation & the ancient spiritual science of layayoga ever created.
The Five Tibetans: A Description
As described in the text, the Five Tibetans, also known as the Five Rites of Rejuvenation, were brought to the West early in this century, by a retired British army officer, who learned them in a Tibetan lamasery.
The Five Tibetans are a yogic system of highly energizing postures and exercises that originated in the Himalayas. Liberating and enhancing the innate energetic power of the human body and mind, these five exercises take a minimum of daily time and effort but offer remarkable results in the way of increased physical strength and suppleness as well as mental acuity. In addition, these exercises can be a vehicle for enlivening the senses and generating and harnessing energy for the purpose of self- transformation.
Regular practice of these postures relieves muscular tension and nervous stress, improves respiration and digestion, benefits the cardiovascular system, leads to deep relaxation and well-being, and tunes and energizes the chakras.
Here's One That I UsePDF File Free Download : Five Tibetans