By Dr. Rita Khanna
Energy Block Postures
This group of Yoga asanas improves the energy flow within the body and breaks the neuromuscular knots – especially in the pelvic region, where energy tends to stagnate. These asanas are very useful for those with reduced vitality and a stiff back. These are especially useful for menstrual problems and toning the pelvic organs and muscles. These Yoga postures also eliminate energy blockages in the spine, activate the lungs and heart, and improve endocrine function.
Nauka Sanchalana (Rowing the Boat)
Assume a sitting position with the legs stretched in front of the body. Make movements as though rowing a boat, keeping the legs together. Make circular motions, bending the body forward and backward as far as possible. Do 10 times.
Reverse the rowing movement as though going in the opposite direction. Do 10 times.
Chakki Chalana (Churning the Mill)
Stay in the sitting position with the legs outstretched. Make horizontal circular movements with the arms, keeping them straight, and the fingers interlocked. Imagine you are grinding wheat between two stones. Move the body only from the waist. Do the exercise 10 times clockwise, and then 10 times anti-clockwise.
Vayu Nishkasana (Gas Releasing Pose)
Assume a squatting pose. Place the fingers under the feet from the inside so that the palms are under the arches with the elbows pressing against the inner sides of the knees. Inhale and raise the head. Exhale, bring the head downward and straighten the legs. Maintain this position for a few seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat the process 10 times.
Udarakarshan Asana (Abdominal Massage Pose)
Assume a squatting pose, hands on the knees. Bend the left knee to the ground, while turning the trunk as much as possible, to the right. Keep the hands to the knees and look over the right shoulder. Return to the starting position. Repeat the same procedure, twisting the body in the opposite direction. Twist the body 10 times in each direction.
Asanas in Standing Pose
Tadasana (The Heavenly Stretch Pose)
Stand erect – with the feet 10 cm apart. Fix the gaze overhead, with the palms facing upward, and look up at the hands. Lift the heels, and feel as though you are being drawn upwards. Completely stretch the whole body. Slowly return the heels to the ground. Practice 10 times.
Tiryaka Tadasana (Wind Blown Tree Pose)
Assume Tadasana. Bend from the waist, first to the right, and then to the left. Bend 10 times to each side, then relax the body, and stand with the feet flat on the ground.
If you find it difficult to balance on the toes, you may do this Asana standing flat on the feet until you develop a better sense of balance. You should, however, try to balance on tiptoe every time you do the Asana – just for a few seconds, so that you slowly improve your sense of balance.
Kati Chakrasana (The Waist Rotation Pose)
Stand erect – with the feet about 2 feet apart. Stretch the arms sideways at shoulder level. Twist the upper part of the body to right, bringing the left hand to the right shoulder, and wrapping the right arm around the trunk in a smooth motion. Repeat on the opposite side. Practice 10 times – breathing normally.
This is a complete Yoga training practice in itself. One can use it for overall fitness and as a warm-up before any exercise. It prepares the body for handling stressful situations. It is an effective way of loosening up, stretching, massaging and toning all the joints, muscles, and internal organs of the body. It stimulates and balances all the systems of the body.
Position 1: Stand erect with the feet together. Place the palms together in front of the chest. Relax the whole body. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed – normal breathing.
Position 2: Raise both arms above the head, and arch back from the waist, pushing the hips out – legs straight. Relax your neck. Inhale, while raising the arms.
Position 3: Exhaling – fold forward and press your palms down – fingertips in line with toes – bend your knees, if necessary.
Position 4: Inhaling, bring the right leg back, and place the knee on the floor. Arch back and look up – lifting your chin.
Position 5: Retaining the breath – bring the left leg back and raise your body on hands and toes. Keep your head and body in line with the floor, and look at the floor between your hands.
Position 6: Exhaling – lower your knees, then your chest, and then your forehead -keeping your hips up and your toes curled under.
Position 7: Inhaling – lower your hips – adjust the hands under the chest, curl your toes under, and bend back. Keep legs together and shoulders down. Look up and back.
Position 8: Exhaling – curl your toes under, raise your hips, and pivot into an inverted ‘V’ shape. Try to get your heels to touch the ground, keep your head down and your shoulders back.
Position 9: Inhaling – step forward, and place the left foot between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and look up – as in Position 4.
Position 10: Exhaling, bring the right leg forward and bend down from the waist, keeping your palms, as in Position 3.
Position 11: Inhaling – palms together, stretch your arms forward = then up and back over your head, and bend back slowly from the waist, as in Position 2.
Position 12: This is the final pose and is the same as Position 1. Bring your hands in front of the chest, and place the palms together. Relax the whole body. Exhale as you assume the final pose.
Asanas in Sitting Pose
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
Stand on the knees, with the feet stretched backward, and the big toes crossed. The knees should be together, heels apart. Lower the buttocks onto the insides of the feet – the heels at the sides of the hips. Place the hands on the knees – palms downward.
Practice Vajrasana as much as possible, especially right after meals, for at least 5 minutes, to enhance the digestive functions.
Shashankasana (The Pose of the Moon)
Sit in Vajrasana – place the hands on the knees. While inhaling, raise the arms so that they are stretched vertically above the head. Exhale while bending the trunk. At the end of the movement, the hands and forehead should rest on the floor, in front of the body. Retain the breath, for a short time, in the final position. Then, while inhaling, return slowly to the position where the trunk and arms are vertical. Slowly return to the starting position while exhaling. Repeat up to 10 times.
Normal breathing, or even slow deep breathing, may be practiced in the prostrated stage, to prolong the Asana.
Ushtrasana (The Camel Pose)
• Sit in Vajrasana, with the feet and knees slightly apart. Stand on your knees and stretch the arms to the sides. Lean backward and put the hands on the heels. Stretch the neck backward and let the body weight rest on the arms. Arch as far back as possible. Return to the kneeling position – then back to Vajrasana.
• Inhale, while assuming the knee-based position. Exhale, while bending backward, and while lowering to Vajrasana.
• Practice up to 10 times. Hold up to 3 minutes as a static pose.
Paschimottanasana (The Back Stretching Pose)
• Sit on the floor, with the legs straight in front of the body, and the lower arms on the thighs. Relax the whole body, especially the back muscles. Slowly bend the body forward, sliding the hands along the top of the legs.
• Try to grasp the big toes with the fingers and the thumbs. If this is not possible, then hold the heels, the ankles, or the legs, as near as possible to the feet.
• Keeping the legs straight, and without utilizing the back muscles, only using the arms, pull the trunk a little lower toward the legs. This should be a gentle process, without any sudden movement, or excessive strain, anywhere in the body. If possible, touch the knees with the forehead. Beginners should only bend forward as far as they can, without strain.
• Remain in the final pose for a comfortable length of time, trying to further relax the whole body, and then, slowly return to the starting position.
• Do not bend the legs at the knees, even though you cannot bend the body further forward.
• Do not force, but after regular practice, you will be able to touch the knee with the forehead, or perhaps, even the chin.
Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)
• Lie on the stomach, with the legs straight, and the feet extended. Place the palms flat on the floor, under the shoulders, rest the forehead on the ground, and relax your body.
• Slowly raise the head and shoulders off the ground, bending the head as far back as it will go. Try to raise the shoulders, without using the arms, only utilizing the back muscles.
• Now, bring the arms into action, and slowly bend the back as much as possible, without strain, until the arms are straight. Keep the navel as near to the ground as possible.
• Hold as long as comfortable.
• Inhale, while raising the body from the ground. Breathe normally in the final pose. If the final pose is held for a short time, retain the breath inside.
• Practice up to 5 times.
Asanas for Relaxation
Relaxation poses can be performed, before and after, the Yoga training session, and at any time when the body is tired.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie flat on the back with the arms beside, and in line with, the body – palms facing upward. Move the feet slightly apart to a comfortable position, and close the eyes. Relax the whole body. Do not move any part, unless discomfort occurs. Let the breath become rhythmic and natural. Become aware of the inhalation and exhalation. Count the number of respirations: 1 in, 1 out, and so on. Continue to count for a few minutes. If the mind starts to wander, bring it back to the counting. If you can keep the mind on the breath for a few minutes, the mind and body will relax.
Makarasana (The Crocodile Pose)
Lie flat on the stomach. Raise the head and shoulders, resting the head in the palms of the hands, with the elbows on the ground. Relax the whole body, and close the eyes. Breathing should be natural and rhythmic.
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Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).