Monday, September 7, 2009

Free Yoga Exercises

Here are more free yoga exercises that you can work on, however, beginners should not attempt headstand inverted postures or any other advanced poses without supervision of a qualified yoga teacher. Inverted and advanced poses should not be done by anyone with high or low blood pressure, neck, back or eye problems, or any limiting physical condition, without the approval of your medical care professional.

The following free yoga exercises are some of the more intermediate/advanced poses that take time, practice, and personal guidance for the best results.

Please practice these free yoga exercises with care and assistance from a partner, if needed, and always honor and listen to your body.

Salamba Sirsasana - Headstand

Headstand is known as the "King of Asanas" for good reason. Once mastered, it provides many benefits including increased blood flow to the head. It promotes poise, balance, physical strength and mental clarity.

Start by kneeling and placing a folded blanket in front of you for a little cushioning of the head while in the pose. Clasp your fingers and place the elbows down in front of you, no wider than shoulder distance apart on the blanketed floor, then place the very top (crown) of the head down, making sure that the cupped hands are behind the head for support. Lift off the knees and straighten the legs as you inch the feet closer to the head. As you do that, the spine will start to straighten. Bend the knees into the chest. The straighter the back, the easier it will be to bend the knees close to the body. Once you are in a folded position with the knees close to the chest and feet off the floor, try slowly raising the legs straight up. This is where you may need assistance. You can also try this against a corner of the room, leaving two or three inches between your head and either side of the corners of the walls. Hold for as long as you can, up to five minutes. At first, you may not be able to hold very long, but with practice your hold time will increase.

When coming down, bend the knees close to the chest as in going up, and gently bring the toes to touch the floor.

Bend the knees and rest in Extended Child's Pose, Balasana, for a few minutes, to allow the blood flow to return to normal and the body to stabilize.

Bakasana - Crow or Crane Pose

Crow, also known as Crane Pose is an arm balance that needs an equal amount of strength and leveraging of your body weight.

Beginner Level:

Begin by crouching down in a squat position with the arms inside the legs. Press bent elbows inside the bent knees where there is a fold in the legs. This position of the elbows pressing into the bent part of the knees acts like a shelf until you gain more strength to go into the level shown. Pressing the elbows outward into the folded part of the inner knees, start to raise your tailbone with the strength of the legs. Slowly, as the elbows are pressing out and the knees are pressing in, start to lean forward and lift off the toes until you are balancing.

Intermediate/Advanced Level (shown):

This time instead of pressing the elbows into the inner knees, squat down and start by bringing the knees into the arm pits. Begin to shift the weight and try to keep the knees on the upper arms (shown on left).

This pose can also be done from a full lotus position (shown on right).

Hold for as long as you can, a few seconds at first, then as long as you feel comfortable.

Parsva Bakasana - Side Crow or Crane Pose

Side Crow is similar to the above move, only this time you will crouch down and turn the knees to the side. Compact your body close to the arms and bend the elbows. Climb up high on the arms and slowly start to shift the weight forward. You will be resting on the upper arms. Make sure the knees are pulled in tight, legs together and parallel to the floor. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable.

Salamba Sarvangasana - Supported Shoulder Stand

Shoulder Stand is a great inversion that provides many benefits. However, like the Headstand, beginners should not attempt inverted postures or any other advanced pose without supervision of a qualified yoga teacher. Inverted and advanced poses should not be done by anyone with high or low blood pressure, neck, back or eye problems, or any limiting physical condition, without the approval of your medical care professional.

To begin, start in a lying down position. Bring the knees into the chest and slowly start to raise the hips off the floor, supporting your hips with your hands. Come up as hight as possible and bring the legs straight up, continuing to support the low back.

The pose below shows one leg down to the floor as a variation.

Halasana - Plough Pose

Plough pose is an intense posterior stretch and should not be performed unless the body is completely warmed up, preferably towards the end of a fairly vigorous yoga practice.

Plough can be moved into from Shoulderstand, shown above, by dropping the knees first towards the head, then slowly extending the legs straight out, touching the floor with the feet. Hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable. When coming out of the pose, hold the legs while slowly lowering the back down to the floor or support the hips while coming down carefully.

Navasana - Boat Pose

This pose takes a little balance and flexibility. Start by sitting in an upright position with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor close to the body. Hold the ankles and bring the feet off the floor with knees close to the body. Slowly raise the toes to the sky as you hold the ankles. Try to let go of the ankles and bring the arms straight out, parallel to the floor (not shown).

Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana - Upward Facing Plough or Intense Posterior Stretch

This pose is the same as Halasana, but instead of lying on your back, you are balancing on the tailbone in an upright position. You can start in Navasana - Boat Pose, shown above. Gently start to bring the legs closer to the chest, keeping the legs as straight as possible. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable. When through, bend the knees into the chest and relax.

Eka Pada Sirsasana - Foot to Head Pose

This pose requires lots of flexibility. At first, just bend the knee and take the foot to the chest, then bring it up higher and higher. Eventually, you may be able to bring it behind the head and bring the palms in prayer position (not shown.)

Astavakrasana - Eight Angle Pose

This pose takes a little time and practice. Start in the above position, Eka Pada Sirsasana, to increase the flexibility of the legs. Keep the right leg high up on the right arm, place palms on the floor beside hips, and extend the left leg to reach straight in front, as in the picture directly below. Start to press off the floor with the palms using your arms and core strength. Keep the left leg straight ahead, toes pointed. Hold in the lifted position for a few seconds, then bend the left leg so that you can hook the left foot over the right, keeping feet flexed at this point. Start to bend the elbows further, lean forward, and balance on the upper arms as you extend fully out to the right. Hold the pose for as long as you can. Come down gently. Rest, then repeat on the other side.

.....Try these free yoga exercises and see which ones work the best for you! Use the ancient wisdom of yoga to keep you in a healthy and comfortable lifestyle......

Try these free yoga exercises now!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yoga Positions

Yoga Positions For Beginners Explained In Detail

These yoga positions for beginners are simple but you should still take care when performing them.

If you choose to do yoga positions for beginners or any yoga exercises for that matter, before retiring at night, make certain you are not over-tired, but fully enough awake to relax and concentrate on what you are doing with these yoga basic positions.

Obviously little benefit would be derived from either asanas (yoga exercises) or mudras performed while the mind is in such a state of fatigue that it cannot address itself to the task at hand.

Without the proper mental mood the yoga positions for beginners become so many physical exercises, an exotic but ineffectual substitute for calisthenics.

Remember that all yoga positions for beginners should be performed on the hard floor, using a rug or mat for protection. A mattress or soft bed is inadvisable since you would not derive the maximum muscular benefits from performing yoga exercises on a "giving" surface.

One quick point before we continue. Yoga is all about health so in addition to using the following yoga positions for beginners you should check out this. It's really worth a few moments of your time.

Yoga positions # 1: SAVASANA, or the Death Pose; this is the pose of complete relaxation.

Method: Let yourself lie flat and heavy on the mat. Breathe rhythmically but naturally. Try to feel the weight of your body as though it were digging into the ground. Consciously relax every muscle, starting with the head, neck, shoulders, chest, arms and hands and fingers, down the torso and abdomen, down the back, hips, thighs, knees, legs, feet and toes.

Relax the muscles of your face-forehead, eyes, cheeks, mouth, chin. Pretend you are an old piece of rope lying on the ground. When you have relaxed completely, repeat the process.

You will discover a residue of tension here and there which must be gotten rid of. Do not let your mind wander and free-associate, but concentrate on some soothing image, such as clouds floating in the sky. Hold the image.

Do not let yourself relax into sleep. After a few moments reverse the process by deliberately tensing the relaxed muscles one by one. Stretch hard. In time you should be able to hold most yoga positions for ten or fifteen minutes without either day-dreaming or falling asleep. You will find such relaxation more beneficial than an hour's nap.

Yoga positions #2: UDHITTA PADASANA, or Raised-Legs Posture, is a simple asana which may be done by anyone, regardless of age, weight or infirmities, and is therefore excellent to be included in the list of yoga positions for beginners.

Method: Lie flat on your back, arms along the sides as for SAVASANA yoga positions for beginners. Inhaling slowly, slowly raise your right leg without bending the knee, until it is at right angles to your body, keeping your other leg flat on the floor.

Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower the leg while exhaling in the same slow rhythm. Reverse, repeating with the left leg. Now raise both legs at once. Hold this position for a slow count of three times three (counting to three in waltz time approximates one second) and lower the legs again. Rest. Gradually increase the count to ten or twelve seconds.

At first you may find that doing the three parts of yoga exercises such as this just once is enough to produce slight fatigue. But after a few days you will be able to increase the number of repetitions to three, then four or five.

Eventually you should be able to raise both legs at once half a dozen times in smooth rhythm without stopping. Be sure however, as with all yoga positions for beginners, to always to go through all motions slowly: the tendency is to lower the legs fast, since this is by far the easier way.

You will probably experience slight soreness of the abdominal muscles at the start, but this will not last beyond the first few days.

Therapeutic Value: yoga positions for beginners like this will give the abdomen an internal massage, strengthening all the muscles and breaking down surplus fat.

It is therefore particularly good for persons working at sedentary jobs and for those suffering from or wishing to prevent "middle-aged spread.

It is excellent for preventing prolapse of the stomach and for reconditioning muscles after childbirth. In the latter case, however, it should not be done without first checking with a doctor.

Caution: As with most yoga exercises, yoga positions for beginners or not, it should be avoided by persons with a weak heart and women already suffering from female disorders.

In contrast with the above asanas, which are basically Deep Contraction yoga exercises, the next three yoga positions for beginners are Concentration Poses.

They are listed in the logical order in which you will want to do them, the first being the simplest and the last the most complicated yoga positions for beginners.

But even the first of the yoga positions for beginners will require a bit of patience at first, unless you are naturally very limber.

Yoga positions #3: SUKHASANA, also called the Simple Pose:

Method: For these yoga positions for beginners, sit on the mat with legs stretched out in front. Bend the right leg at the knee and place the foot under the left thigh, using your hands to do it.

Now bend the left leg and place the left foot under the right leg. (You may, if you wish, reverse the order in which the legs are bent. Left-handed persons will generally find themselves naturally doing this in regard to many positions).

Keep the body balanced and easily erect. Extend your arms so that the wrists rest on your knees, palms turned upward. The tips of the thumbs should touch the tips of the index fingers, with other fingers lying straight out.

At first your knees will persist in sticking up into the air, which is only natural, since unlike the Orientals we have no tradition of sitting cross-legged unless our ancestors were tailors! You may find it helpful to start practicing this pose seated on a large book about two inches thick.

Do not force the knees down. Eventually you will be able to achieve this pose with ease and will assume it naturally for meditation.

Therapeutic Value: These yoga positions for beginners help concentration and induces mental and physical stability through calming the nervous system.

Yoga positions #4: SIDDHASANA, the Advanced or Perfect Pose:

Method: Having mastered the Simple Pose yoga positions for beginners, you are now ready to go on to the Advanced Pose, and you will find that your abilities of concentration become much greater.

Superficially there is considerable similarity between the two exercises, and you begin the SIDDHASANA as you do the SUKHASANA.

This time, however, you start sitting upright, tailor fashion, then take the left foot in the right hand and bend it so that the left heel is placed against the perineum (the structure between the genitals and the anus) and the sole of the left foot touches the upper portion of the right thigh.

Be careful not to sit on the heel, which should just feel the two bones of the perineum. Now bend the right leg so that the right heel is against the pubic bone and the toes of the right foot fit snugly into the crevice formed by the calf and thigh or the left leg.

Next, place your left hand, palm upward, on your left knee and the right hand on the right knee. Keep the head erect, pressing your chin well into your neck. Close your eyes and begin to concentrate by focusing your imagination on a spot between your eyebrows. This is not a must; but your mind is likely to wander at first unless you do.

Therapeutic Value: Same as SUKHASANA yoga positions for beginners, with increased powers of concentration.

Yoga positions #5: PADMASANA, the Lotus or Buddha Pose, one of the basic Asana and the one most Westerners will recognize as one the classic yoga positions for beginners. Of the three meditation poses it is the most difficult to achieve.

But since it is also the most beneficial, by all means try eventually to train your body to assume it.

Method: Sit on the mat tailor fashion. With your hands, bring the right foot up to rest on the left thigh, close to the hip joint, with the sole of the foot upturned and the heel near the middle of the abdomen, the ball of the foot almost in line with the thigh.

Now take the left foot, cross it over the right and place it in a similar position on the right thigh. (For left-handed persons, reverse the order). Place the hands on the knees, palms open, the thumb and second finger of each hand forming the letter O.

Because the Lotus Pose, yoga positions, sometimes take months of practice for the Occidental to achieve, many teachers advocate the following preliminary exercise:

Place the sole of your left foot against the right thigh, then begin a bouncing up-and-down movement with your left knee. You will find that the moment you push the knee down to the floor it will bounce up again like rubber-this is true even of the Simple Pose yoga positions for beginners -and the bouncing routine helps stretch and Umber unused tendons and ligaments. Bounce first one knee, then the other.

Therapeutic Value: The Lotus yoga positions, which symbolizes mental purity and a completely developed consciousness, is said to free the mind of temptations and lower physical instincts.

Its perfect symmetry gives the body inner harmony, preserves the equilibrium of our positive and negative currents and increases the effect of our yoga breathing exercises.

Creative energy is said to waken like a great river dammed up so that its rising waters may be harnessed. Its immediate physical benefits are to keep the joints flexible and to promote good posture.

Perhaps you are wondering why such difficult yoga positions for beginners or postures as the last three are recommended for concentration, since it would seem that in order simply to concentrate one might just as well lie down and relax.

Actually, this is not the case.

Experience has shown that if one lies down to concentrate or meditate, it is all too easy to day-dream, drowse or even fall asleep. Standing yoga positions for beginners, on the other hand, make it impossible to relax sufficiently for the mind to be completely free to devote itself to meditation.

Over the centuries those who have perfected yoga positions for beginners have found that the sitting posture is infinitely the superior one, and so have adopted it.

...really feels good when doing yoga, especially when my body is out tune, so thanks to this yoga positions, it is soothing and relaxing...

Includes Illustrations For Yoga Positions For Beginners

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yoga Breathing

Learn breathing… the yoga way

With the ever-increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases like cardio-vascular and nervous system disorders, the time has come for us to address this ourselves, fair and square WITHOUT external dependence.

Did you know that reprogramming your natural breathing technique would not only help in preventing these problems but also help in the “reversal” of several such harmful conditions? Yes, it’s not only possible but proven too. In fact leading cardiac experts are advocating the benefits of “correct” breathing to their patients.

Surprising as it is, almost none of us use the full capacity of our respiratory organs. This is aggravated by our sedentary lifestyles and leads to several complications popularly called - lifestyle disorders.

The first question that comes to mind is – “How can I alter my natural breathing process?” Well, astonishing as it may seem, it’s true. By training our body to breathe in a particular fashion, we re-program our involuntary system to adopt this new way of breathing.

This breathing technique is called the “Full Yogic breath” or simply Yoga breathing.

Without wasting time, I’ll plunge right away into the technique followed by its overwhelming benefits.

First, lie down on your back, relaxed, with hands and legs outstretched and eyes looking up at the roof. Gently close your eyes and relax.

Step 1: Abdominal breathing

Observe your natural breath. You will notice that as you inhale the abdomen rises and then falls with exhalation. Watch this for a few moments to check this flow. Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. That is, while inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely. Keep the chest still during this entire process – only move the abdomen. Continue this for 20 breaths and then rest.

Step 2: Thoracic (chest) breathing

Again observe your normal breath, this time focusing your attention on the chest. You will notice the chest moving slightly up at inhalation and down with exhalation. Again observe this pattern for a few moments. Now again, begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. This time, on inhalation expand and lift the rib cage, filling the lungs completely. Then on exhalation, let the lungs collapse fully, sinking to the limits. In this step, keep the abdomen still, moving only the chest. Do this for 20 breath cycles and then stop

Step 3: Full Yogic breathing

This combines the above 2 steps in the following way:
First inhale by filling the abdomen and then CONTINUE inhaling as you expand and fill the chest. Then exhale first from the chest as it empties and falls and then CONTINUE exhaling from the abdomen as it draws inwards completely. This is one round of the full yogic breath. Repeat this for 20 rounds.

Remember the pattern… Inhaling - abdomen then chest; Exhaling – chest then abdomen.

GOLDEN RULE: All of the above steps should be done WITHOUT strain. The natural tendency is to heave with effort. The right way is to make it smooth and effortless. Go slow and easy.

Initially you will experience unevenness or bumps in this breathing process – as if there are 4 separate parts to the full yogic breath. This is natural considering the years we have spent breathing improperly.

Instead, try to picture this breath as a continuous wave like pattern – as if the breath moves up from the navel to the throat with every inhalation and then, down from the throat to the navel with each exhalation. It may take a few weeks of practice to perfect a “SMOOTH flowing pattern with MINIMUM effort and with MAXIMUM capacity.”

This is the desired effect!! Over time, the yoga way of breathing will come naturally to you.

And now for the all-important benefits…

The full yogic breath is the basic building block of the powerful yoga breathing techniques, also called ‘Pranayama’ in Sanskrit, which are known for their multifarious benefits.

But the tangible benefits of the full yogic breath are that it:

*Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.

*Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity.

*Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular system

*Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety

*Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen

*Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system

*Calms the mind and integrates the mental / physical balance.

And the real icing is that it contributes to both vitality and relaxation through this single practice.
With such powerful all-round benefits, do you really need to be “motivated” to get going?
Go ahead, and take charge of your life like never before.

...actually i have practice doing yoga, and it sure helped me, i even told it bout my friends and they found out it's a real mind calming...

learn to breath properly the yoga way

Yoga Positions

Respect your body's limitations and inner wisdom, if something feels wrong or dangerous, please do not do it.
Please consult your health care practitioner before starting a yoga, pranayama or other exercise program.