Vyaghra Kriya

Names

Vyaghra Kriya, Vyagra Kriya, Vyagra karma, Baghi Kriya, Vaman Dhauti

Vyaghra Kriya belongs to ‘Vaman Dhauti’, a subcategory of the Dhauti cleansing techniques.


Vyaghra Kriya is a kriya or gesture for cleansing the stomach, very similar to the Kunjar Kriya. It is also called Baghi Kriya by some yogis. Both, ‘Vyaghra’ and ‘Bagh’ mean tiger.

How to perform Vyaghra Kriya

The difference between Kunjar Kriya and Vyaghra Kriya is that Kunjar is done on empty stomach whereas Vyaghra Kriya is done 3 to 4 hours after a meal. In very rare cases it is also done after an hour.


To perform Vyaghra Kriya, you drink 6 to 8 glasses of slightly salted warm water. You drink it fast and while drinking place your left hand on your navel to press it in. This action is done to prevent the water from going further down in your digestive track. While holding your hand there, you slightly bend forward. You can also spread your legs about two feet or a meter apart, just as you feel good and comfortable.


Now you put your index and middle finger of the right hand into your mouth, press the root of your tongue down and rub it.


This will make you vomit and will bring out the water that you drank together with any undigested food. If there was anything else in your belly that was not right or which was stuck at some point of the stomach, it comes out in this way.


You can repeat this drinking and vomiting for a maximum of three times in a row. It is suggested to do it three times if you want your stomach to be completely clean. If you do it three times, there should be only clean water.

Advice for Caution

This Kriya must be taught by an experienced teacher and should be done under the guidance of an instructor until it is mastered. This Kriya should only be done once in one day, not more than that, and it is not suggested to perform it on a daily basis.
Only do this Kriya as a treatment against feeling sick after food intake.


Some yoga teacher recommend this practice more often however if the body is healthy, there is no need to and using this Kriya for cleansing too often can weaken your body and upset digestion as well as metabolism.

Benefits of Vyaghra Kriya

The Vyaghra Kriya is advised against indigestion and if you have eaten something that is giving you pain. If you feel discomfort and heavy because of what you have eaten, the Vyaghra Kriya makes you feel light.


Of course this can be done when you feel nauseous after food to reduce any kind of bad food or poison from the body. In this way you can also regain energy which you lose when you ate something bad.


Through the vomiting, you don’t only cleanse your stomach but also any excessive mucus in your respiratory system.


It is additionally said to be beneficial against biliousness.

Tips and Help

Check whether the water is nicely drinkable, not too warm and not too cold as you need to drink it fast.


If you are planning and intending to practice Vyaghra Kriya, it is advisable to eat something light such as Khichari before and also as your next meal.


After performing the Kriya, you can place a piece of cardamom into your mouth and slowly chew on it to reduce the bad taste in the mouth and the pitta created by inducing the vomiting.

Virasana – Hero Pose

Names

Virasana, Hero Pose

How to sit in Virasana

At first sit on your heels and then move them out from under your buttocks so that your perineum is also in contact with the floor.

Benefits of Virasana

This yoga poses strengthens your thighs, knees, ankles and calves. It is good for digestion and recommended for people with issues of diabetes. Women who start the time of menopause should sit in Virasana to reduce pain and irregularity. It is said to control high blood pressure and is beneficial against asthma.

Tips and Help

Beginners can use cushions under buttocks, knees and ankles if any body part hurts.

Practice Time

3-5 minutes per training session. Practicing for longer time periods can harm your knees.

When to Avoid Virasana

If you have knee problems, pain and weakness in the knees or if your ligaments are worn or torn, you should avoid this position. If you are in doubt, please consult your doctor or physiotherapist and let your yoga teacher know about it.

Virabhadrasana – Warrior

Names

Virabhadrasana, Warrior

How to perform Virabhadrasana

Stand straight in Samastithi. Open your legs so that they are about 1,5 meter apart. Check which of your nostrils is active. If it is your right nostril, turn your right foot so that it points to the right. Now bend your right knee and bring your pelvis down so that it reaches the level of the right knee. Open your arms wide and stretch them in one line with your shoulders, parallel to the floor. Look to your right side.


Repeat the pose to the other side.

Benefits of Virabhadrasana

Virabhadrasana is good for your groins and hips and especially for your hip and ankle joints because of the stretch you are giving your body during this exercise. If you are suffering from sciatica, osteoporosis or carpal tunnel syndrome, do this pose and get some relief.


If you hold this position for longer, it forms and tones your leg muscles, increases stamina for your legs and reduces extra fat from your calves and thighs.
Virabhadrasana gives a nice stretch and strengthens the shoulders, neck, arms and chest muscles.


Because of the twisting movement it is also beneficial for the lower abdominal organs and can support your fertility.


During pregnancy this pose can relieve back pain but should only be practiced if you have consulted your doctor before and he approved of the practice of this yoga pose.

Focus Points

This is one of the poses where you can easily think ‘I did it, it was not difficult!’ and not notice that you did not go fully in the pose. You need to bring your pelvis down to the height of your bent knee to feel the effect of this yoga exercise.

Tips and Help

Don’t turn your hip along with your head. Your complete upper body should be facing front while your head, knee and arm are pointing to your side.


Look far ahead with open eyes and try to look as far as it is possible. If you practice this yoga pose inside, it is best to do this exercise in front of a window. Keep normal breathing and smile as if you were a warrior.

Viparita Karani

Names

Viparita Karani, legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, Inverted Leg Posture, Inverted Action Pose

Viparita is the Sanskrit word for “inverted” while Karani means “doing” or “making” but also can be understood as “which makes you do”. Viparita Karani thus means “the posture which makes you inverted”.

Viparita Karani is known as a Mudra. There are ten Mudras explained in Yogic scripture and Viparita Karani is one of them.

How to perform Viparita Karani

To perform this posture, lay down in Supta Samasthiti with your body straight, your feet together and the knees straight. Now lift both legs up to 90 degrees so that the soles of the feet point to the ceiling.


Now you lift your pelvis half up and support it with your hands. You do not lift it straight up as in Sarvangasana, the shoulder stand. You could say you are now in ‘Ardha Sarvangasana’, the half shoulder stand.


If you are practiced in this exercise, you can place your hands down on the floor with your palms flat to the ground.

Additional Note for Viparita Karani

It is not recommended using blocks, cushions or blankets under the pelvis and to lean your legs against a wall. This is only an option if you have physical difficulties with this posture and don’t have the strength to lift your pelvis up.


This is how the name ‘Legs-up-the-Wall-Pose’, as it is given here is not actually accurate or correct for Viparita Karani. In a variation for people who cannot go into the original pose, this name may fit but the original pose is not against the wall.


Those who would like to read about its origin in the scriptures and confirm this statement can read it in:
Gherand Samhita, chapter 3, shlokas 34-36 and
Hatha yoga Pradipika, chapter 3, shlokas 78-82 and
Shiva Samhita, chapter 4, shlokas 44-45

Benefits of Viparita Karani

As you lift your lower part up in this yoga pose, you work with your abdominal organs and the movement stimulates them. Through this, Viparita Karani stimulates your digestion and is good against constipation and other digestive problems. Additionally you increase your appetite through this stimulation.


Your urinary system also benefits from this movement as do women’s reproductive organs. With regular practice of this exercise, women can thus avoid menstrual cramps and problems of the premenstrual syndrome as well as the menopause.


As this yoga pose is an inversion, the blood circulation is stimulated and your upper body and head receives a stronger blood flow which supplies the whole area with oxygen. Through this, migraines and headaches, caused by poor blood circulation, can be healed and prevented.


Pimples, boils and acne problems also are reduced by this increase of blood flow. Additionally it is said that such inverted poses are good against losing hair and getting gray hair.


Of course this all makes it also a great exercise for anybody who wants to prevent or deal with high or low blood pressure. Blood and other body fluids stuck in the legs and causing swelling, get into movement again and thus the swelling will reduce. Whoever easily gets cramps in legs and feet can also try this yoga pose as a cure.


As far as your muscles are concerned, this yoga asana strengthens your arms and legs but also your back and your neck muscles.


Through the bending of your neck, your throat and chest are squeezed together and when you come out of the pose, they can unfold with your next deep breath. In this way you help your respiratory system to open to its full extent. The pressure is also said to help men who are suffering from goiter.


You move your joints and keep them active in a rather gentle motion which is good against arthritis.


Through the additional blood flow in your head, you get more oxygen which is beneficial for very problems like insomnia but which also lifts your spirits and helps against depression and anxiety.


This pose is also recommended if you want to clean your stomach, as it makes the water move faster from the small intestines to the large intestines. This is how this exercise is sometimes performed to support the Kriya Shankha Prakshalana.

Focus Points

You should not focus on bringing your legs further up, as you are not doing the shoulder stand. Instead focus on the bend in your back, feel your abdominal area and the work there and hold your pelvis.

When to Avoid Viparita Karani

You should not perform Viparita Karani, if you are suffering from neck or back injuries or previously had surgery of the back or neck.


If you have eye problems that could react in any way to the additional blood circulation, you should consult your doctor before practicing this yoga pose.


As always, be careful in the pose and only go until the limits of your body, never cross them.

Vipareet Naukasana – Inverted Boat

Names

Vipareet Naukasana, Viprit Navasan, Inverted Boat Pose

How to perform Vipareet Naukasana

Lie on your belly with your feet straight and your arms straight over your head. Bring your arms to the sides of your head so that your ears are closed. Spread your fingers apart and let your tips of your thumbs touch each other.


With inhalation you now lift your hands, arms, head and chest as well as your legs up in the air. Hold your breath and balance your body on your stomach, pelvis and thighs. With exhalation you slowly move your arms and legs down and gently place them down on the floor again.

Benefits of Vipareet Naukasana

The inverted boat pose is one of the best yoga postures to reduce belly fat. It also strengthens your hips and ties which brings both, your buttocks and your legs, into a nice shape.


While strengthening the back muscles, it also positively affects your spine which comes in another position than its usual one. In this way the tissues and muscles around it remain flexible.


Through the movement in this yoga pose, the kidneys, thyroid glands and prostate gland get a soft and stimulating massage.


Through the opening of the chest, the lungs get space to expand fully and take more oxygen in. This helps you to breathe more deeply in your every day’s life, too, which is an immense help in relieving stress. People, who breathe deeply, keep their heart beat low and are less prone to stress.

When to Avoid the Inverted Boat Pose

People suffering from diarrhea, low blood pressure, insomnia or chest and heart pain should not practice Vipareet Naukasana.


Women should avoid this yoga posture during menstruation and pregnancy.
If you suffer from neck injuries, you should be very careful while practicing this pose and best of all, consult with your doctor first.

Vastra Dhauti

Names

Vastra Dhauti

Vastra is the Sanskrit word for cloth.


Vastra Dhauti is the most commonly known practice of Dhauti and so even people unfamiliar with yoga might know the practice of swallowing a cloth.

How to perform Vastra Dhauti

Take a very soft cloth made of pure cotton with a width of six or seven centimeters and a length of six meters. One usually uses muslin because it is not coloured, very fine, not embroidered and not printed upon.


Take two or two and a half glasses of warm water in a bowl and add half a teaspoon of salt into it. Soak the cloth in this water until it is fully wet.

This technique should only be done with empty stomach.

Sit in Utkatasana or Malasana with a glass of drinking water next to you. Take a gulp of water to wet your throat and esophagus. Now take one end of the cloth, put it into your mouth and slowly start swallowing it. Whenever you feel difficulty, take a sip of water and continue. On the first day, only put the cloth about twenty centimeters down. The next day you can put it a bit further and so on until one day you can swallow the complete cloth except for half a meter which you need to keep out in able to pull it back out later.

For the complete practice of this Kriya, get up then, bend forward and practice Nauli. Come back up again and slowly pull out the cloth.


Sterilize the cloth after using it so that you can reuse it next time.

Benefits of Vastra Dhauti

The stomach is a very important part of the body as all input of food and beverages reaches there and is further processed there to finally reach our cells in the form of energy and life force. If our stomach is not clean, our complete system feels the consequences such as building of gas, bile, nausea, acidity, bad breath and bad-smelling sweat. There are many more such problems and for all of them, Vastra Dhauti is considered as a very good practice. It keeps the stomach clean and thus the system healthy.


With this practice, mucus is cleaned from the esophagus and stomach and thus Kapha related problems can be relieved.


By the cleansing of the stomach, toxins which were stuck there and which spread their unhealthy effects across the body get cleaned which can relieve skin disorders and acne.
Of course this cleansing of the stomach also helps the rest of the digestive system as well as other organs such as the liver and spleen.


With regular practice you may also experience that your breathing gets lighter and your respiratory system gets relief. Asthma attacks can get less.

Advice for Beginners

Please only try this technique under guidance and supervision of an experienced yoga teacher.


Start including the Nauli only when you have mastered the taking in and out of the cloth smoothly.

Tips and Help

Relax. This is one of the most important points of this exercise. Don’t hesitate and don’t think of Vastra Dhauti as something dirty or disgusting. It is cleansing and helps you.


Relaxing will thus reduce the urge to vomit. The more practice you have, the easier it will be.
If the cloth seems to get stuck when taking it out, relax and drink a bit water. This will make the cloth smoother and easier to come out.

Vajrasana – Kneeling Position

Names

Vajrasan, Vajrasana or Sitting on Heels

How to perform Vajrasana

Kneel on the floor and slowly sit back on your heels until you comfortably sit with your spine straight and your hands on your legs.

Benefits of Vajrasana

This sitting yoga pose is one of the basic postures that you can use for practicing Pranayam, breathing exercises. Vajrasan helps you to sit straight without much effort.

This is one of the very few Yoga poses that you can do on full stomach. If you sit in Vajrasana after food it will help your digestion.

Focus Points

Be aware of your pose and listen to your body while in this position. You should feel relaxed and your back should not feel any strain. If you feel your muscles aching and your body trying to shift, allow it to leave this position and change into another sitting position.

When to Avoid Vajrasana

If you have knee problems, pain and weakness in the knees or if your ligaments are worn or torn, you should avoid this position. If you are in doubt, please consult your doctor or physiotherapist and let your yoga teacher know about it.

Uttanpadasana

Names

Uttanpadasana, Raised legs Pose

How to perform Uttanpadasana

Lay in Supta Samasthiti, keep your knees straight and your feet together. Check your nostrils and if you are breathing from the right nostril, lift your right leg up straight to 90 degrees. Bring it down again and then do the same your left leg.


With inhalation you then lift both legs very slowly straight up in the air, bring them up to 90 degrees and hold them up for 30 seconds up to one minute. Bring them back down to the floor even more slowly and with exhalation. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.


You can also only do this Asana with both legs at once.


Doing it with one by one first and then with both is easier and recommended for beginners.

Benefits of Uttanpadasana

When you do this yoga pose, you feel very quickly where it is working: it strengthens and tones the muscles of your legs, your abdomen, your lower back and hips, your pelvis and additionally the muscles of your perineum.


Through the muscle work in your legs you lose weight from your hips, reduce extra thigh fat and most of all lose fat at your lower abdomen. If you want to work on getting six pack abs, this is a good exercise for your lower abs.


Uttanpadasana is a pose which is recommended for women who have recently given birth and who want to bring their weight back without overdoing their exercise and exhausting themselves.


Pregnant women in the third trimester can carefully practice this exercise against back pain. If it is difficult to raise your legs with the strength of your muscles, you can also do the pose against the wall and simply relax your back


It is one of the best postures for athletes because it gives strength and balance to the body.


This yoga exercise is suggested if you have problems with indigestion and your digestive system.

Focus Points

You should keep your legs straight and bring them up and down very slowly while keeping the focus on the work of your lower abdomen.

When to Avoid Uttanpadasana

This posture should be avoided if you are suffering from high blood pressure, Hernia or had recent abdominal surgery.


It should also be avoided if you have lower back pain or had recent surgery of your back or spine, as it gives pressure to your spinal cord and lower back. In that situation I would recommend doing it only with one leg instead of both at the same time as this does not give as much pressure on lower back and spine.


This yoga pose should also not be practiced in the first months of pregnancy.
There is also always the question whether you can perform it during menstruation. In general, if you feel comfortable with it and if you are used to practicing it, you can keep on doing it. If you have belly ache or cramps however, please do not perform this pose.

Uttan Mandukasana – Stretched Frog

Names

Uttan Mandukasana, Stretched Frog, Uplifted Frog

How to perform Uttan Mandukasana

The stretched frog pose usually follows directly on the sitting frog pose, Mandukasana.
Sit in Vajrasana on your heels. Open your feet apart and place your buttocks on the floor in between your feet. Now open your knees wide and let your toes touch each other in the back of your buttocks.


Sit straight, grab your right elbow with the left hand and vice versa, and stretch your thus folded arms up and behind your head.


You can include your breathing by inhaling when you move your arms upwards and bring your arms down again with exhalation.

Benefits of Uttan Mandukasana

Full stretch for nearly all your muscles. Your feet, calves, thighs and hips are stretched through the way you are sitting while your torso and arm muscles are stretched when you move your arms up and down.


Your organs get room to expand and work properly.


This yoga posture is good for lower back pain.

Utkatasana II – Chair Pose

Names

Utkatasana II, Chair Pose

Utkat is the Sanskrit word for raised or lifted. It is thus the lifting or rairing pose.
There is another version of Utkatasana in which you squat on your toes and place your buttocks onto your heels. This however is sitting on a chair without a chair.

How to perform Utkatasana II

Stand in Samasthiti, bend your knees and sit down as if you would sit on a chair. Keep your spine straight and do not let your knees go in front of your toes. You can raise your arms straight out in front of you or bring your palms together above your head.

Variation for Partner yoga

You can also do this exercise together with a partner. Stand in front of each other, hold each other’s hands and slowly sit down, holding each other’s weight with the stretched arms.

Benefits of Utkatasana II

Just try this exercise and repeat it a few times or hold it as long as you can and you will know exactly where it works. Your thigh muscles, buttocks and calves are working and get nicely toned through that. You will notice that after a while of regular practice, your legs will lose all extra thigh fat and get into a really nice shape.


Your back muscles also benefit and through your effort to keep yourself straight, this exercise is very good for your spine, too.


With this exercise you additionally strengthen your heart and lungs and improve your breathing power.


Provided you go into the right position, it is very good for your knee joints and it helps you to balance your body weight.


This is one of the poses always recommended to athletes and sportsmen and women.

Focus Points

Do not focus on your arm position. Your arms are used merely for balancing your body weight.
Instead you should focus on keeping your back straight and keeping your knees above or behind your toes.

Tips and Help

Beginners and people with weak knee joints can practice this pose against the wall.

When to avoid the Chair Pose

If you had or have an injury of your back, knees, hips or ankles, you should consult your doctor before performing this exercise. If you suffer from acute headache, heart problems or high blood pressure, please avoid this pose.