yoga

YOGA POSTURES-2

YOGA POSTURES


Yoga is a complete science that harmoniously unites the body, mind, and spirit. As a result, it creates a significant difference in one’s behavior, thoughts, and attitude. Daily practice of yoga increases strength, flexibility, sensitivity, intuition, and awareness. Moreover, this is not true only for humans but applies to animals too. Animals are strong, agile, flexible and have a great level of awareness. Hence, there are numerous yoga poses named after animals.As the early yogis were influenced by what was around them, it’s only natural to have yoga poses influenced by animals. As a benefit, it has also made it easy for parents to make to motivate kids into practicing yoga with animal names.  Everything in nature along with animals has a sacred gift for humans to learn from. Ensuing, animal poses can help us to connect with powerful aspects of the soul that we often repress in our busy lives. While some postures are not so obvious, there are many yoga postures that evidently portray the style of a specific animal.So, roll out your Yoga Mats and try for yourself, which of these asanas from below can you perform. Here, is the list of Yoga Poses named after animals. 

MATSYASANA (Fish Pose)


Matsya – Fish; Asana – Pose.This asana is pronounced as mut-see-ahs-ana. The fish pose, if carried out in water, allows the body to float quite easily like that of a fish; hence the name.

How to do Matsyasana (Fish Pose)



  •  Lie on your back. Your feet are together and hands relaxed alongside the body.

  • Place the hands underneath the hips, palms facing down. Bring the elbows closer toward each other.

  • Breathing in, lift the head and chest up.

  • Keeping the chest elevated, lower the head backward and touch the top of the head to the floor.

  • With the head lightly touching the floor, press the elbows firmly into the ground, placing the weight on the elbow and not on the head. Lift your chest up from in-between the shoulder blades. Press the thighs and legs to the floor.

  • Hold the pose for as long as you comfortably can, taking gentle long breaths in and out. Relax in the posture with every exhalation.

  • Now lift the head up, lowering the chest and head to the floor. Bring the hands back along the sides of the body. Relax.


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Benefits of the Matsyasana (Fish Pose)



  • Stretches the chest and neck.

  • Helps relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.

  • Tones the parathyroid, pituitary and pineal glands.

  • Provides relief from respiratory disorders by encouraging deep breathing. 


Contraindications of the Matsyasana (Fish Pose)


Avoid this posture if you have high or low blood pressure. Migraine and insomnia patients should also refrain from doing the Fish Pose. Those who have had serious lower-back or neck injuries are strongly recommended not to practice this pose.

BHUJANGASANA (Cobra Pose)


This asana resembles a serpent with its hood raised. Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana is part of the sequence of yoga postures in Padma Sadhana and Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation.  Bhujangasana is pronounced as BHU-jung-AAHS-uh-nuh.Bhujang = Snake (Cobra); Asana = Posture or Pose 

How to do Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)



  • Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor and forehead resting on the ground.

  • Keep your legs close together, with your feet and heels lightly touching each other.

  • Place your hands (palms downwards) under your shoulders, keeping your elbows parallel and close to your torso. 

  • Taking a deep breath in, slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen while keeping your navel on the floor.

  • Pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands.

  • Checkpoint: Are you putting equal pressure on both the palms?

  • Keep breathing with awareness, as you curve your spine vertebra by vertebra. If possible, straighten your arms by arching your back as much as possible; tilt your head back and look up.

  • Checkpoint: Are your shoulders away from your ears? Keep your shoulders relaxed, even if it means bending your elbows. With regular practice, you will be able to deepen the stretch by straightening the elbows.

  • Ensure that your feet are still close together. Keep smiling and breathing. Smiling Cobras!

  • Don’t overdo the stretch or overstrain yourself. 

  • Breathing out, gently bring your abdomen, chest and head back to the floor.


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Benefits of the Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)



  • Opens up the shoulders and neck. 

  • Tones the abdomen.

  • Strengthens the entire back and shoulders.

  • Improves flexibility of the upper and middle back.

  • Expands the chest.

  • Improves blood circulation.

  • Reduces fatigue and stress.

  • Useful for people with respiratory disorders such as asthma. (Do not practice this yoga pose during the attack though).


BADHAKONASANA (Butterfly Pose)


Badha = Bound or Restrained, Kona = Angle, Asana = Pose or Posture This pose is pronounced as BAH-dah-cone-AHS-ana The posture is named Badhakonasana because of the way it is carried out – both the feet tucked close to the groin, clasped tightly with the hands as though tied or bound together in a particular angle. It is also popularly known as the Butterfly Pose because of the movement of the legs during the posture, giving the appearance of a butterfly flapping its wings. The posture is also sometimes known as the Cobbler Pose as it resembles the sitting position of a cobbler at work.

How to do Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)



  • How to do Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)

  • Now bend your knees and bring your feet towards the pelvis. The soles of your feet should touch each other.

  • Grab your feet tightly with your hands. You may place the hands underneath the feet for support.

  • Make an effort to bring the heels as close to the genitals as possible.

  • Take a deep breath in. Breathing out, press the thighs and knees downward towards the floor. Make a gentle effort to keep pressing them downward.

  • Now start flapping both the legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly. Start slow and gradually increase the speed. Keep breathing normally throughout.

  • Fly higher and higher, as fast as you comfortably can. Slow down and then stop. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bend forward, keeping the chin up and spine erect.

  • Press your elbows on the thighs or on the knees, pushing the knees and thighs closer to the floor.

  • Feel the stretch in the inner thighs and take long, deep breaths, relaxing the muscles more and more.

  • Take a deep breath in and bring the torso up.

  • As you exhale, gently release the posture. Straighten the legs out in front of you and relax.


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Benefits of the Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)



  • A good stretch for the inner thighs, groins and knees, improving flexibility in the groin and hip region.

  • Helps in intestine and bowel movement.

  • Removes fatigue from long hours of standing and walking.

  • Offers relief from menstrual discomfort and menopause symptoms.

  • Helps in smooth delivery if practiced regularly until late pregnancy.


Contraindications of the Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)


If you are suffering from groin or knee injury, make sure you keep a blanket under the outer thighs for support. Do not perform this pose without blanket support. Also, sciatica patients should either completely avoid the pose or sit on a cushion to raise the hips. If you have any lower-back disorders, do the posture only while keeping the spine erect. Avoid rounding up the spine by bending forward. 

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)


Pronounced: MA-curr-AA-doh-MOO-kah-shvah-NAS-annaMakara Adho Mukha Svanasana is an intermediate level rejuvenating yoga posture that helps tones the abdominal muscles. It is a variation of the Dolphin Pose.

How to do Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)



  • Begin in Adho Mukha Svanasana and slowly shift the weight of the body to the front.

  • Ensure that your shoulders are aligned with your wrists.

  • Slowly, lower your arms till the forearms touch the floor. Your palms should be pressed to the floor.

  • Keeping your legs straight, position your heels directly above the toes.

  • Fix your gaze on the floor and keep your back and knees straight.

  • If possible, the palms should be facing each other.

  • As you inhale, slowly pull your abdominal muscles in and relax them as you exhale.

  • Stay in this posture for a few breaths before returning back to Adho Mukha Svanasana.


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Benefits of the Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)



  • Effectively relives the body of headache, fatigue and back-ache.

  • Strengthens the arms and legs.

  • Tones the abdominal muscles.

  • Improves digestion.

  • Relieves menstrual discomfort.


Contraindications of the Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)


Back injury, neck injury, or spinal injury: Perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher. 

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog Pose)


Adho – Forward; Mukha – Face; Svana – DogThe asana is pronounced as A-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAS-annaAdho mukha svanasana posture replicates a dog bending forward, hence the name downward facing dog pose.

How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)



  • Come onto your fours. Form a table such that your back forms the table top and your hands and feet form the legs of the table.

  • As you breath out lift the hips up, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body. 

  • Hands are shoulder width apart, feet are hip width apart and parallel to each other. Toes point straight ahead.

  • Press your hands into the ground. Widen through the shoulder blades. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms. 

  • Hold the downward dog pose and take long deep breaths. Look towards the navel.

  • Exhale. Bend the knees, return to table pose. Relax.


Tips For Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)



  • Tips For Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

  • Do Dhanurasana and Dhandasana before Adho Mukha Svanasana.

  • This Asana can also be performed as part of Surya Namaskar.


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Benefits of the Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)



  • This pose leaves you energized and rejuvenates the body.

  • It lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest increasing lung capacity.

  • It brings strength throughout the body especially the arms, shoulders, legs, feet.

  • Helps to tone muscles.It increases circulation to the brain.

  • Calms the mind and helps relive headache, insomnia and fatigue.


Contraindications of the Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)



  • Avoid doing this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure.

  • Carpel tunnel syndrome.

  • Detached eye retina.

  • Weak eye capillaries.

  • Dislocated shoulder / shoulder injury or diarrhea.


Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)


Urdhva = Upward, Mukha = Face, Svana = Dog, Asana = PosePronounced as OORD-vah-MOO-kah-shvah-NAS-annaUrdhva Mukha Svanasana is a back-bending yoga posture that strengthens the arms, wrists and spine. It also stretches the back and relieves the body of lower back ache.

How to do Urdhva Mukha Svanasana(Upward Facing Dog Pose)



  • Lie flat on your belly with the top of your feet facing downwards. Your arms should be stretched down the length of the body.

  • Bend your elbows and spread your palms beside the lowest rib.

  • As you inhale, press your palms firmly on the mat and slowly lift your torso, hips and knees off the mat. The entire weight of the body should be resting on the palms and top of the feet.

  • You may look straight ahead or tilt your head slightly backwards.

  • Ensure that your wrists are in line with your shoulders and the neck is not strained.

  • Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths.

  • As you exhale, slowly lower your knees, hips and torso back on the mat.


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Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)



  • Stretches and strengthens the back, thus relieving the body of lower back ache.

  • Most of the body weight is borne by the arms and wrists, thus strengthening them.

  • This yoga pose helps improve the body posture and also stimulates the abdominal organs.


Contraindications



  • Avoid doing this posture if you suffer from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or a back injury that is aggravated due to extension.

  • Pregnant women should also refrain from doing this asana.


Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)


A Sanskrit word, Gomukhasana literally translates into a cow face posture (go – cow, mukha – face, asana – pose). A seated yoga posture, Gomukhasana can be performed along with a set of different seated asanas. It helps stretch the arms, triceps, shoulders, and chest. Requiring the practitioner to sit erectly, it also enhances one’s posture. Description: The feet on both sides represent the ears and the crossed legs look like the cow’s face.

How to do Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)



  • Sit on the yoga mat with your back straight and legs extended in front of you. Put your feet together and place your palms next to your hips.

  • Bend your right leg and place the right feet under your left buttock.

  • Stack your left knee over your right knee.

  • Raise the left arm above your head and bend the elbow. Simultaneously, bring the right arm behind your back and interlock both hands.

  • Take deep ujjayi breaths and stay as long as you are comfortable.

  • Now, as you exhale, release your arms.

  • Uncross your legs and repeat for the other leg.


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Beginner’s tip


Your left hand may not be able to reach the right hand and vice-a-versa initially. In which case, do not exert too much force. With practice, both hands will be able to hold on another.

Benefits of Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)



  • Cures sciatica.

  • Helps in high blood-pressure.

  • Reproductive organs are toned and massaged with regular practice

  • Cures stiff shoulders.

  • Elongates spine.

  • Beneficial for those with bad posture.

  • Reduces stress and anxiety.

  • Strengthens back muscles.

  • Stimulates kidneys.

  • Strengthens muscles of ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, triceps, inner armpits and chest. 


Contraindications



  1. Shoulder pain or injury: If you are experiencing excessive shoulder pain, refrain from doing Gomukhasana. If the pain in the shoulder is not much, do the posture under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher.

  2. Pain in any of the key body parts: It is advisable not to do the asana when any of the body parts which are stretched while doing the posture are in heavy pain.

  3. Soft tissue injury in leg: Soft tissue injury means the damage of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It generally arises from a strain or sprain.

  4. Muscle tear or pain in thighs.

  5. Bleeding piles.

  6. Spondylitis.Doing Gomukhasana in the above-mentioned conditions can aggravate the condition. So, it is important to avoid doing the posture in these conditions. 


MARJARIASANA (Cat Stretch)


Even pet cats can teach us lessons in yoga. With a keen eye, the yogi absorbs ideas from the world around. Marjari asana, or the cat stretch, incorporates the excellent feline stretch in the yoga workout.Marjari = Cat; Asana = Posture or Pose.

How To Do Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)



  • Come onto your fours. Form a table such that your back forms the table top and your hands and feet form the legs of the table.

  • Keep your arms perpendicular to the floor, with the hands directly under the shoulders and flat on the ground; your knees are hip-width apart.

  • Look straight ahead.

  • As you inhale, raise your chin and tilt your head back, push your navel downwards and raise your tailbone. Compress your buttocks. Do you feel a slight tingle here?

  • Hold the Cat pose and take long, deep breaths.

  • Follow this by a countermovement: As you exhale, drop your chin to your chest and arch your back up as much as you can; relax the buttocks.

  • Hold this pose for a few seconds before you return to the initial table-like stage.

  • Continue five or six rounds before you come out of this yoga posture.

  • Tip from the Bogaa Yoga expert: When you do the movement slowly and gracefully, its effect is more powerful and meditative.  


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Benefits of Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)



  • Brings flexibility to the spine.

  • Strengthens wrists and shoulders.

  • Massages the digestive organs and improves digestion.

  • Tones the abdomen.

  • Improves digestion.

  • Relaxes the mind.

  • Improves blood circulation.


Contraindication of the Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)


Avoid if you have back or neck-related problems and practice Cat Stretch (Marjariasana).

GARUDASANA (Eagle Pose)


Garuda – Eagle, asana – pose

How to do Garudasana (Eagle Pose)



  • Begin by standing in Tadasana.

  • Bend your knees and lift your left foot up to cross it over the right one.

  • Ensure that right foot is firmly placed on the floor and the left thigh is over the right thigh. Your left foot’s toes should be pointing downwards.

  • Bring your arms forwards while keeping them parallel to the floor.

  • Cross the right arm over the left one and bend your elbows so that your arms are now perpendicular to the floor. Ensure that the back of your hands are facing each other.

  • Slowly turn the hands so that the palms face each other.

  • Pressing the palms together, stretch the fingers upwards.

  • Keeping your gaze focused at one place, stay in this pose for a couple of breaths.

  • Slowly release the hands and bring them to the side of your body.

  • Raise your left leg and place it back on the floor and slowly come back into Tadasana.


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Benefits of the Garudasana (Eagle Pose)



  • Stretches the hips, thighs, shoulders and upper back.

  • Improves balance.

  • Strengthens the calves.

  • Helps alleviate sciatica and rheumatism.

  • Loosens the legs and hips, making them more flexible.


Contraindications of Garudasana (Eagle Pose)


Avoid practicing this pose if you’ve had a recent knee, ankle or elbow injury. 

USTRASANA (Camel Pose) 


Pronounced: Oohs-tra-aa-sun-aaUstra = Camel: Asana = Posture or Pose

How to do Ustrasana (Camel Pose)



  • Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips.

  • Your knees should be in line with the shoulders and the sole of your feet should be facing the ceiling.

  • As you inhale, draw in your tail-bone towards the pubis as if being pulled from the navel.

  • Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the arms are straight.

  • Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position.

  • Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.

  • Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.


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Ustrasana (Camel Pose) for Beginners


Ustrasana (Camel Pose) for Beginners

Benefits of the Ustrasana (Camel Pose)



  • Improves digestion.

  • Stretches and opens the front of the body. It also strengthens the back and shoulders.

  • Relieves the body of lower back ache.

  • Improves flexibility of the spine and also improves posture.

  • Helps overcome menstrual discomfort.


Contraindications of the Ustrasana (Camel Pose)



  • Back injury or neck injury, high or low blood pressure.

  • Perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher.


HANUMANASANA (Monkey Pose)


Hanumanasana (Haa-NU-mahn-AHS-anna) – Monkey Pose.Hanumanasana opens the hips and stretches muscles in the groin and hamstring region. Make sure to say warm yourself up adequately with hip-opening exercises before getting into this pose. Monkey Pose gets its name from the Sanskrit words, Hanuman, meaning Lord Hanuman, and asana, meaning pose.

How to do Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)



  • Start by kneeling on the floor with knees slightly apart. Place your right foot forward and raise the inner sole so that only the outer heel touches the floor.

  • As you exhale, bend your torso forward and bring your fingertips to touch the floor.

  • Slowly, move your left knee backwards until your knee and the front of your foot touch the ground. Simultaneously slide your right leg forward until it touches the floor completely.

  • Sliding your left foot backward and right foot forward, come into a split position.

  • The toes of your right foot should be pointing skywards and the front of your left foot should be touching the ground.

  • Raise your arms and join your palms together overhead. Stretch your arms and arch your back slightly.

  • Stay in this position for a couple of breaths before lowering your arms.

  • To come out of this posture, shift the weight of your body onto your hands by pressing them on the floor.

  • Slowly slide your left and right feet back to the initial position before repeating the pose with the left leg in front and right leg behind.


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Benefits of the Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)



  • Stretches and strengthens muscles in the hamstrings, thighs and groin region.

  • Stimulates and improves the functioning of the abdominal organs.

  • Increases flexibility in the hips over time.


Precautions



  • Hamstring or groin injury.

  • Do not force your body into a full split as it might harm the body. Respect your body’s limits and stretch only to a point of comfort.


SASANGASANA (Rabbit Pose)


This simple pose places you into a static somersault position, helping you experience spinal flexion (rolling forward), particularly in the thoracic spine.

How to do Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)



  • Stand straight facing forward.

  • Make the ears of the bunny rabbit with your open palms placed behind your ears.

  • Bend a little and jump to the side.

  • Shake your rear end, imagining you are shaking the rabbit’s tail in joy!

  • Repeat 10-12 times. 


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Benefits of Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)


This will help loosen your hips and strengthen your thighs as you jump.