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Asana Postures

The practice of Asana posture improves the health, increases resistance, and develops mental awareness. Various types of yoga postures, their benefits and caution while performing the postures.

Asana postures:

The practice of Asana postures with yoga blocks improves the health, increases resistance, and develops mental awareness. Yoga means togetherness of awareness and body. It is a practical science aiming at the realization of the ultimate-moksha. Yoga is not only a science that can be used as a curative to relax and de-stress you, but one that aids in understanding life, and can be used by a logical mind to go beyond logic.The practice of yoga enhances the body's strength, resilience and general health without aggressive interference in it's natural internal processes. The various types of yoga asana postures are described in this article.

 TYPES OF ASANA POSTURES:

PAWANAMUKTASANA (SINGLE LEG LOCK)

1. Lie flat on your back. Fold your right knee and grasp it with your hands.

2. Pull your knee down towards your chest.

3. Lock your knee to your chest. Raise your upper body till your chin touches your knee. Hold for 20-30 seconds, release your leg and lie down.

BENEFITS

1.Loosens spinal vertebrae.

2.Massages the abdomen and digestive organs; effective in removing wind and constipation.

CAUTION:

Not to be performed by people with severe back conditions such as sciatica and slipped disc.

LEG LOCK

1. Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.

2. Interlock your hands around your knees and pull them down towards your chest.

3.Draw your knees completely down to the chest and touch your chin to the knees. Hold this posture for 20-30 seconds and then release your legs and lie down.

BENEFITS

1.Loosens spinal vertebrae.

2.Massages the abdomen and digestive organs; effective in removing wind and constipation.

CAUTION

Not to be performed by people with severe back conditions such as sciatica and slipped disc.

TADASANA(PALM TREE POSTURE)

1. Stand with your legs straight apart. Stretch your arms outwards and come up on your toes. The more intense your posture, the more easily you will slip into meditation.

2. Inhale and take your hands up and join your palms. Stretch your whole body upwards. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.

BENEFITS

1. Stretches the abdominal area and internal organs, improving digestion.

VRIKSHASANA (TREE POSTURE)

1. Stand straight with your legs together. Fold one leg and bring your foot close to your groin.

2. Maintain balance by focussing on a point infront of you. Straighten out your hands to your sides.

3. Raise your hands up, straighten them and join your palms. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.Then repeat with the other leg.

BENEFITS

1. Strengthens the muscles of the legs and ankles.

2. Straightens the spine, helps digestion and prevents stomach ailments.

3. Develops balance of body and mind, and enhances concentration.

CAUTION

1.People with weak knees should hold this posture for short durations and and gradually increase the duration.

2. Stretches the back, shoulder and neck muscles.

3. Stretches the quadriceps, calf muscles and ankles.

ARDHACHAKRASANA(HALF-WHEEL POSTURE)

1. Stand straight. Raise one hand to the side, keeping it straight.

2. Raise your hand up beside your ear.

3. Gently bend your body to the side with your hand outstretched. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.Then repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

1. Stretches the sides and removes excess weight.

2. Tones and massages the internal organs of the abdominal area.

3. Increases the respiratory capacity of the lungs.

CAUTION

Do not hold your breath while holding the posture.

VEERASANA(WARRIOR'S POSTURE)

1. Stand straight with your legs wide apart and your hands on your hips.

2. Turn one leg and your upper body to one side and bend your knee.

3. Raise your hands up, keep them straight and join your palms.

4. Bend backwards as much as is comfortable. Stretch your stomach outwards and lower your hips. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.Then repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

1. Strengthens the thighs, hamstrings and calf muscles.

2. Stretches and opens up the groin and the inner thighs.

3. Opens the chest and shoulders, stretches and strengthens the back.

CAUTION

People with back pain and weak knees should avoid step 4.

TRIKONASANA (Triangular Posture)

TRIANGULAR POSTURE-1

1. Stand with your legs wide apart.

2.Stretch one hand along one side.

3. Slide the other hand along the leg and simultaneously bend the side of your body. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.Then repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

1. Stretches the hamstrings and calf muscles.

2. Tones the sides, causing loss of weight and the removal of what are called 'love handles'.

3. Massages the internal organs of the abdominal area.

4. Stretches the back, especially the sides of the back and shoulders.

CAUTION

People with severe back conditions should not perform this posture.

TRIANGULAR POSTURE-2

1. Stand with your legs wide apart and your hands stretched out.

2. Bring your hand down towards the opposite ankle and raise your other hand backwards.

3. Hold your ankle and raise the other hand up.Turn your neck and look towards the upturned hand. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.

Benefits:

1. Stretches the sides and removes excess weight.

2. Increases the respiratory capacity of the lungs.

TRIANGULAR POSTURE-3

1. Stand with your legs wide apart. Turn one foot outwards and look in that direction.

2. Slide your hand down the leg by bending one side of the body.

3. Place your hand on the ankle and stretch the other hand straight,over and across your shoulders. Keep your upper shoulder pushed back slightly. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.Then repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

1. Stretches the sides and removes excess weight.

2. Increases the respiratory capacity of the lung.

CAUTION:

People with severe back conditions should not perform this posture.

HASTAPADASANA(FORWARD BEND)

1.Stand with your feet together and back straight. Do not force silence. Just wait for it to happen.

2. Exhale and bend forward from the waist to touch your knees with your forehead , and rest your palms on the floor. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds. Breathe normally.

BENEFITS

1. Massages and tones the abdomen.

2. Opens up the hips and stretches the hamstring muscles.

3. Increases blood flow to the head, improves metabolism, concentration and vitality.

CAUTION

Those with high blood pressure or severe back problems should not perform this posture.

PARSVAKONASANA (SIDE-SPLIT POSTURE)

1. Stand with your legs apart.

2. Turn one leg to the side,looking in that direction.

3. Lower your body to the side and lower the same hand as the bent knee to the floor.

4. Stretch the opposite hand outwards and look towards your fingertips.Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

1.Stretches the groin and hamstrings, and strengthens the quadriceps.

2. Massages the internal organs of the abdominal area, stimulating the digestive process.

3. Stretches the sides and removes excess weight around the stomach.

CAUTION

People with sciatica should avoid this posture.

PADMASANA(LOTUS POSTURE)

1.Sit with your back straight and legs outstretched.

2. Fold one leg and place your ankle on the opposite thigh, close to the groin.

3. Fold your other leg and place it over the thigh of your bent leg, close to the groin. Sit with your back straight.

4. Place your hands on your knees with the palms facing upwards. Place the tip of your forefinger on the centre of your thumb. Hold the posture for as long as it is comfortable. Practice alternatively with either leg on top.

BENEFITS

1. A workout for the entire body-the legs are held in a lock, the abdomen is drawn in, the shoulders are pulled back, the back,arm, neck and head are straightened.The whole body is toned.

2. Allows the body to remain steady for long periods of time,which allows the mind to become cal-a requirement for meditation.

3. Stagnant blood is drained from the legs and directed towards the abdominal region, thus stimulating the digestive process.

CAUTION

People suffering from sciatica, sacral infections, weak or injured knees should not perform this posture.

VAJRASANA (THUNDER-BOLT POSTURE)

1. Sit with your legs stretched and your back straight.

2. Bend one knee and bring your ankle towards your buttocks. Place your foot under your buttock.

3. Fold your other leg and bring your ankle under your buttock. Place the toes of one foot on top of the other and sit on your feet. Keep your back straight and hold for as long as is comfortable.

BENEFITS

1. Develops the strength of the back by ensuring it is kept straight.

2. Improves digestion and alleviates ailments of the stomach such as constipation, hyper acidity and peptic ulcer.

3. Induces a state of stillness in the body that is a prerequisite for meditation.

SUKHASANA (EASY POSTURE)

1. Sit with your legs stretched out. Bend one knee and draw your leg towards the groin. Place your foot in the back of the other knee.

2. Bend your other knee and draw your leg under your bent leg.

3. Flatten your knees and place your hands on them. Keep your back and your head straight and your body relaxed. Hold for as long as is comfortable.

BENEFITS

1. Being one of the meditative postures, sukhasana calms the body and prepares the whole being for meditation.

2. Strengthens the back by ensuring that it is kept straight.

3. Retains the energy within the body for the purpose of meditation.

PASCHIMOTTANASANA(BACK-STRETCH POSTURE)

1. Sit with your back straight and legs stretched.

2. Inhale and raise your hands upwards.

3. Start exhaling and lower your back.

4. Hold your ankles and stretch your back, pulling your body downwards. Lower your forehead to the knees and bend your elbows to the floor. Breathe normally. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds.

BENEFITS

1. Stretches the muscles of the back and increases blood circulation to the spinal nerves.

2. Stretches and tones the hamstrings and calf muscles.

3. Presses the stomach area downwards, reducing fat and massaging the internal organs.

4. Used in yoga therapy for the management of kidney ailments, diabetes, colitis and menstrual disorders.

JANUSIRSASANA (HEAD-TO-KNEE POSTURE)

1. Sit with your back straight and your legs stretched.

2. Fold one leg and take your foot to the groin. Inhale, raise your hands up, keeping them straight.

3. Exhale, bend your back and lower your body, grasping the heel with your hands, bringing your forehead down to touch your knee. Keep your other leg straight. Breathe normally. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

BENEFITS

1. Stretches the hamstrings and flexes the hip joints.

2. Tones the internal organs of the abdominal area and helps loose excess weight.

3. Used in yoga therapy for the management of diabetes, prolapse, menstrual disorders, colitis and bronchitis.

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Comments (3)

BIG fan of this stuff!

Great article, I must ask is Sukhasana posture called half lotus some times?

Ranked #17 in Yoga

No, half lotus posture comes in padmasana.What i've mentioned here in padmasana is full lotus or lotus posture.For half lotus posture, one leg is kept on the ground, while the other on the opposite thigh.

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