Tadasana – Palm Tree

Names

Tadasana, Palm Tree Pose, Mountain Pose

How to perform Tadasana

Stand straight with your feet together. Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms straight up. Your palms should face the roof. Come onto your toes and stretch your body up as far as possible.

Benefits of Tadasana

This pose gives your body a good stretch and thus corrects your posture. You stretch your arms, rib cage, thorax, your throat and chest. In this way it gives your lungs space to breathe and cleans your windpipe which makes it a very good exercise against breathing problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
Regularly performed, it also helps the growth of children.
The work of your calves strengthens your legs immensely.

Focus Points

This posture only brings its good effects, if you stretch up completely and as far as you can.

Tips and Help

If you want to intensify this yoga pose, you can bring your heals up first, then halfway down and up again. Do this movement up and down without touching the floor.
This will make it possible for you to stand in the yoga pose for a longer duration of time and you will feel soon how much more your legs need to work with this variation.

Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation

Names

Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutation

How to perform Surya Namaskar

Stand straight in Samastithi. Check which of your nostrils is more active by holding your hand in front of your nose. Now bring your arms in front of your chest in Namaste position.
With inhalation bring your arms up over your head. Bend backwards and bring your hips to the front with your body weight on your toes. Keep your knees straight. Look backwards and keep deep breathing.


With exhalation bend forwards while keeping your back and elbows straight. Place your hands next to your feet. Now bring back the leg of your active side back. If your right nostril is more active bring back your right leg. Your left knee should now be directly above the left foot. Bring your pelvis down as much as you can and keep the right leg straight and don’t place it on the ground.


With inhalation bring the left foot back next to the right foot into Chaturanga Asana. Hold the position and keep your body in the air. During that keep arms, back and knees straight.
If your shoulders allow it lean your body weight forward with exhalation. Hold your breath and with an inhalation go into Bhujangasana. For that put down your legs and hips on the floor. Your hands should be beside your chest now. Bring your pelvis down but your upper body up so that your navel doesn´t touch the floor anymore. Look straight up to the ceiling. Open your chest wide and breathe deeply. Make sure that you are not hanging your body weight on your shoulders.


With exhalation you bring your head back into the normal position and look straight. With inhalation twist your head to the right side and look at your left heel. With exhalation bring your head back and repeat the same on the left side.


Now push your body back and go into Adho Mukha Svanasana with inhalation. For that you keep your arms straight and with the strength of your shoulders you bring your hips up into the air. You lower the upper body and push your hands into the floor. Your buttock should be the highest part of your body and point to the ceiling.

With exhalation go back into Chaturanga Asana.


Now bring your right foot into the front between your arms. Your right knee should be directly above the right foot. Bring your pelvis down as much as you can and keep the left leg straight without touching the ground.


With inhalation bring the left foot next to the right foot between your arms and straighten your knees. Bring your upper body close to your legs so that your nose is touching the knees.

Bring your palms together in Namaste position. Straighten your elbows and slowly come up with inhalation and your back straight. Bend backwards as before and come back to Samastithi.


Now you have completed the first round of sun salutation!

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

This is a very beneficial position for your whole body. You may do it to warm up at the beginning of your yoga practice. It is also a great exercise for children as this position strengthen the muscles and gives the body more room to develop the organs and to grow.
Sun salutation also helps to prevent many digestive issues and stomach problems. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, sun salutation may help you as it regulates the movement of the bowels.


A regular practice of this sequence of yoga postures will strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest and abdominal muscles and help you to reduce fat especially on your belly.
It will also keep your whole body flexible.


If you practice this pose regularly it will help you to calm your mind, to improve your focus and concentration. Those effects work against depression, bipolar disorder, insomnia, headache, migraines and stress. It is also good for your memory and nervous system.


This exercise also has a lot of benefits for women. Regular practice of sun salutation helps against irregular menstruation and prevents pain during pregnancy. Sun salutation can also help to make the birth of the child easier.


Also your cardio system will be influenced in a positive way. Your blood will get more oxygen and so helps the body to get rid of toxics.


It is also very good for the coordination between mind and body and therefore recommended for seniors.


When you suffer from diabetes make this pose to reduce the sugar in your blood and to regulate your insulin level.


Your skin will become better, it will shape your muscles and will make you look and feel younger. It’s a wonderful exercise for beauty!


This exercise is a complete workout! Even when you don´t have much time for yoga or a workout, just practice sun salutation in the morning and it will give you a complete workout for your body.


In total a regular practice of Surya Namaskar keeps you happy and healthy!

Focus Points

Keep your feet together and knees straight while standing. Always keep your body weight on your toes. Focus on your body and the muscles you are working on while performing the posture.


Performing sun salutation slowly makes you understand the position and how it works and for sure it is more beneficial than doing it fast.


Make sure that you breathe very regular and perform the position in a steady rhythmus.

Tips and Help

For an easy version you can place the knee of the stretched leg on the floor when you finished the forward bending and you bring one leg back.


You can also lie on the floor after Chaturanga Asana. Lift your buttocks up and come into cobra after that.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain, place your arms next to your chest. Lift your chest, head and your arms and hands from the floor. The rest of the body lies on the floor as a substitute of the full cobra.


Coordinating with the breathing makes it easier to perform the posture.


Advanced yoga practitioners can try to keep the body up in the air during the whole sequence of poses. Only your hands and feet should touch the floor.


And if you want it to be more difficult, just do it more slowly and hold the single yoga poses a longer time.

Shirshasana – Head Stand

Names

Shirshasana, Sirsana, Sirshasana, Head Stand

How to perform Shirshasana

Fold a blanket and place it in front of you. Sit on your toes and place your knees on the floor. Grab your elbows with your hands so that your lower arms touch each other. Place your arms in front of your knees. Now open your arms and interlace your fingers in front of your knees on the blanket so that your hands look like a triangle.


Place the top of your head on the blanket and support the back of your head with your interlaced hands by placing them on the back of your head. Straighten your knees so that you are only on your feet, arms and head. Make sure your back is also straight.


Now slowly shift your body weight to the front, over your head, and walk closer to your body with your toes. When you feel your back is in an angle of 90 degrees to the floor, start lifting your feet with exhalation from the ground and bring them up and straight, in vertical alignment with your body.


When you feel strain or, at the maximum, after three to five minutes, you slowly bring your feet down to the floor and come out of the pose.

Benefits of Shirshasana

The head stand is considered as one of the best yoga poses because of its vast amount of benefits and is, for that reason, sometimes called the ‘King of Yoga Poses’


Through the upside-down position, your blood flows more easily down where now is your head and your brain. This inversion is good for the blood circulation and your heart. The blood is purified and cleansed through its strengthened flow.


Through the easy flow of blood into your head, the whole area is supplied with fresh oxygen which helps your brain to work properly and better. You will realize that you can concentrate better and your memory improved.


A better blood circulation can prevent headaches and migraines. People suffering from insomnia can also get relief by practicing this yoga pose. Even epilepsy is said to be relieved for yoga practitioners who do the head stand.


Your ears, eyes and nose benefit from the circulation as well and many issues can be prevented through inverted yoga postures like Shirshasana.


The scalp is supplied with blood which stimulates the growth of hair and can even prevent hair loss if it was caused by poor circulation.


This yoga exercise stimulates the thyroid gland, the pituitary and the pineal glands and thus improves their functions.


Of course it is an exercise that strengthens your muscles and with all these effects it also makes your immune system stronger and more resistant.


The head stand is also said to help with many sexual problems.

Focus Points

Keep normal breathing while you are in this pose. Try to straighten your legs up so that your body is a straight vertical line.

Tips and Help

Before performing Shirshasana you should already be warm and have done some exercise. Exhaling while lifting your legs will make it easier for you to come up.


If you are new to this exercise, you can first practice performing Ardha Shirshasana and when you have gained balance in this pose move on to the full head stand.

When to avoid Shirshasana

Do not hold this pose for a longer time, even though you feel you are capable of doing so. The pressure on your head and the blood circulating there can have negative effects if you hold the pose too long. Whenever you feel strain, come out of the yoga pose.


If you suffer from headache or a serious eye disease such as glaucoma, you should avoid this pose. High blood pressure patients and people with cardiac problems should also not practice the head stand. If you had neck injuries or hernia or if you currently suffer from back pain, you should always consult your doctor before performing this yoga pose.
Women should avoid Shirshasana during menstruation time and pregnancy.

Samana Asana

Names

Samana Asana, Samana Air Posture

The pose is called Samana Asana because it has a direct effect on the Samana Vayu. The Samana Vayu is one of the five known Vayus, the airs in the body: Prana, Apana, Vyan, Samana and Udana.

How to perform Samana Asana

For practicing the Samana Air Pose, you need to be able to perform Nauli.

Sit in Siddhasana and breathe deeply. After a deep exhalation (rechaka), make Nauli. When you see Nauli clearly, grab your Nauli with both hands.


Repeat this action 3-5 times consecutively.

Benefits of Samana Asana

The Samana Vayu is located in the navel region, in the area of the Manipoor Chakra. Its purpose is to digest food and distribute energy throughout the body. Performing this pose supports the Samana Vayu and thus speeds up the digestive process. It strengthens the intestines and helps with the release of gas from the digestive system.


Of course the effect is that your appetite increases. You can, however, practice this pose, too, if you would like to lose weight. The fact that your digestion will work better will also keep your metabolism active and prevent your body from storing extra fat. Of course, this needs to be accompanied by a respective diet.

Tips and Help

Make sure you exhale completely before performing this pose and that your stomach is completely empty. If you still have food in your stomach, it can give you belly pain and you might not be able to bring out the Nauli. The best time to perform Samana Asana is before meals, especially in the morning before breakfast.


If you struggle with getting a grip on your nauli, don’t despair but keep practicing first a strong and firm nauli and then try to grab it.

Mayurasana – Peacock Pose

Names

Mayurasana, Peacock Pose

How to perform Mayurasana

1 – For Beginners

Sit in Utkatasana . Now place your elbows on your belly at the sides of your navel. Lean forward and place your palms on the floor so that they are pointing in the direction of your body. Place your knees, feet and forehead on the floor. Your body is now balanced on your forehead, hands, knees and feet. Straighten your knees and lift them from the ground. Then slowly lift your feet.


Inhale, make Kumbhaka and hold the breath. In the end lift your forehead as well and balance your body only on your elbows.


Slowly place your head, feet and knees back to the floor.

2 – For Advanced Practitioners

Start from Utkatasana, place your elbows to your belly next to your navel and place your hands on the floor, fingers pointing to your legs. While balancing on your arms, you lift your feet of the ground and stretch your legs straight out to the back.

Advanced Variations

You can raise your legs up high towards the ceiling while you are in the yoga pose. This pose variation is known as Pinch Mayurasan.


In another variation you can cross your legs in the form of a lotus to Padmasana. In this way, the yoga pose is known as Padma Mayurasana or Mayuri Asana.

Benefits of Mayurasana

Mayurasana is a good posture for burning the belly fat, activating the digestive fire and increasing your hunger. It helps to digest undigested food which is stuck in the intestines and because of that works against constipation and acidity.


It can also prevents colitis, piles and gastric problems.


By practicing this posture you can reduce the excess of ama and remove toxics from the system.

Mayurasana reduces and cures problems which occurs in our body because of the three humors vata, pitta, kapha


Because of the pressure on your abdomen it is very helpful for the abdominal organs like spleen, pancreas, liver, bladder, gall bladder and prostate glen, bowels.

Problems like irritable bowel syndrome or the risk of having a stone in the kidneys can be prevented and cured.


This pose increases the blood flow in the system and purifies the blood which: This makes you look more beautiful, shining and glowing from the inside and is also a help for diabetes patients.


This balancing pose will make your arms very strong.


Regular practice of this posture provides great sexual ability in men and women as well as reduces the congestion of the vagina in women and it prevents and cures impotence in men. Because of the pressure on the abdominal organs is also good for fertility of men and for menstruation problems of women.

With a regular practice you can reduce the stress level in your mind, it makes you cool and calm, refreshes you brain and thoughts and makes you more focused and concentrated. This is why this pose is beneficial when you are suffering from depression.

Focus Points

Focus on your abdomen region and on your mind for balancing on your hands so that you don´t fall on the floor.

Tips and Help

Please avoid the posture, when you have wrist injuries or if you are suffering from belly pain. When you can´t lift your whole body from the ground in the beginning start with your knees and feet first. Later you can also try to lift your head.

It will need a bit of practice as it is an advanced position but after some practice you will also be able to do the peacock pose. For women it is not always possible to this posture as your breasts could restrain you to do this posture properly. When they are hurting during this posture please don´t do it as you could harm your breasts.

Makarasana – Crocodile

Names

Makarasana, Chaturanga Dandasana , Four-Limbed Staff Pose, Crocodile Pose

How to perform Makarasana

Lie flat on your belly. Place your hands next to your chest. With inhalation lift your body from the ground so that only your toes and your hands are touching the floor and balancing your body weight.

Take care that your body is in a flat line. No body part should be higher than another part. Come down to the floor with exhalation.

Advanced Variations

To make this posture more advanced you can lift one leg up while being in the posture and repeat the same with the other leg after that.


To be even more advanced you can also lift one hand off the floor during the posture. But always take the arm of the opposite side. If you lift your right leg, you should lift your left arm.


Another advanced alternative is to crawl like a crocodile on your hands and toes through the room.

Benefits of Makarasana

This balancing pose is very good for the arms, abdominal muscles and legs as you need a lot of strength and body tension.


The pressure to the lungs strengthens the chest muscles and gives them more room.
It also increases the blood circulation which reduces the cholesterol in the blood which is then good for your heart.


As it increases the blood circulation in the face, your cheeks will look alive, your skin on the scalp gets enough oxygen and your hair growth can even improve.
Additionally it helps your eyes, ears and nose in their work.

Focus Points

Coordinate this posture with the breath.
Try to keep the body in one line, not pushing your buttocks up and thus making it too easy for you.

Tips and Help

If it is hard for you to go in this posture from lying flat on the ground, you can go into this posture from Chaturangasana, the plank position.

Then you bring your body slowly down. It can be easier, as you don´t have to lift your body up, but it still requires strength in the arms.

Kapalbhati Pranayama

Names

Kapalbhati Pranayama

As Kapalbhati is a breathing exercise, it is known as a Pranayama but the original yogic scripture refers to it as one of the six cleansing techniques called ‘Kriyas’.

You can read about these cleansing techniques in our Kriya section.

How to perform Kapalbhati Pranayama

Sit in Vajrasana, Siddhasana , Padmasana or Bhadrasana. 


Inhale deeply into your belly through your nose. Then start pumping out the air by forcing your belly in.

The inhalation will be done automatically you should only focus on exhalation.

Your abdominal muscles will contract and push the air out. When you release them, air is immediately sucked back in.


When you feel tired, you complete your round of Kapalbhati with a complete exhalation and hold the air out after that.

Two rounds of breathing follow the first round. Then you inhale deeply and start all over again into the second round.


You can do this exercise 3 to 5 rounds or even more if you feel comfortable. You can also increase the number of exhalations per round by counting them and increasing them each time.

Benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapalbhati is a very beneficial exercise for physical and mental health.


The movement of the belly in this breathing exercise is very good for your digestive system. It massages all abdominal organs as your spleen, pancreas, liver, kidneys, bladder, gall bladder, ovaries, fallopian tubes and urinary tract.


With regular practice of Kapalbhati, you stimulate your digestion and activate the Apan Vayu, which also helps digesting your food. It works with your complete digestive system, metabolism and intestines and helps to digest even food which is stuck in the intestines.


Through the work of this breathing technique, you can prevent food to produce ‘ama’ (waste) in your body and stop unnecessary fat preserves. People who suffered from constipation and other digestion problems have got big relief through the practice of Kapalbhati.

Low appetite and anorexia – if not caused psychologically – are also results of irregular digestion and problems with the metabolism. Kapalbhati solves those digestion problems and can thus increase your appetite again.


The exercise reduces Pitta, acidity in the body.


Obviously your diaphragm, lungs and heart will also benefit from Kapalbhati, as it gets used in unusual activity and the air which moves in your body brings out toxins.

Diseases of the respiratory system like asthma, flue, cold, sinusitis and bronchitis can be relieved with this posture.

Kapalbathi increases the air and blood circulation in the upper body and brain and with it ears, eyes and nose. With this help to the blood circulation, you can even prevent heart strokes.


diabetes patients should do this posture regularly as is brings the blood sugar to a normal level and helps the pancreas to release insulin.


It strengthens the muscles in the back especially the ones next to the spinal column and in the abdomen. Like this stamina and strength can be improved.


Breathing with this technique provides calmness and stability, increases the memory and is good against hysteria.


There are however also benefits to your beauty and shape:

Kapalbhati purifies the blood and brings glow and shine to our skin. If you want to reduce some extra belly fat, do this exercise regularly and you will soon see an effect: a flattening belly.

Focus Points

Focus on your belly and on the exhalation so that you exhale and don’t actively inhale. You only move your belly, not your hips and shoulders.

Don´t jump up and down or make funny faces, simply concentrate on your exhalation.

Tips and Help

Always take two deep breaths between your rounds so that your system can relax from the previous round and that you can prepare your system for the next round.

If you are suffering from back pain please be gentle with your breathing. Then it will be good for your back pain. Performing Kapalbathi too forcefully can otherwise increase back pain.

When to Avoid Kapalbhati

Please avoid this posture if you are suffering from diarrhea.

Jihva Dhauti – Tongue Cleaning

Names

Jihva Dhauti, Tongue Cleaning

How to perform Jihva Dhauti

In Danta dauthi it is explained how to use the dantun, the twig of a tree to clean your teeth. You can use the same twig for the practice of Jihva Dhauti.


Take the twig and tear it apart in the middle so that you have two halves. Take one half of the twig, bend it into U-shape and pull it over your tongue once to clean it.


Now take your index and middle finger and rub them on your tongue to give some pressure on it and to solve if any toxins are left.


After that take the second half of the twig, bend it and clean your tongue with it once again so that it is cleaned nicely.

Benefits of Jihva Dhauti

As you can imagine, Jihva Dhauti gives your tongue a nice massage.


By that it will stimulate your hunger and appetite when you have the problem of not feeling hungry. Also your digestive tract will benefit from Jihva Dhauti.

As you clean your mouth with this exercise, your tongue will be more able to taste things better. Everything will taste more intensive again!

While we sleep the waste and the poisonous part of whatever we have eaten before going to bed comes up to our mouth and stays like a layer on our tongue.

In the morning you can see it on your tongue.

As it is full of bacteria and makes a bad smell, it has to be cleaned and this Kriya is very helpful for that.

Jalandhara Bandha – Throat Lock

Names

Jalandhara Bandha, Net Bearer, Chin Lock, Throat Lock

How to perform Jalandhara Bandha

Sit in Vajrasana, Siddhasana , Bhadrasana, Guptasana or Padmasana. This lock can be performed after inhalation or exhalation. For practicing it, you bend your chin to the collarbone by contracting your throat muscles.


The locking will prevent you from bringing outer air in or inner air out.

Benefits of Jalandhara Bandha

Jalandhara Bandha is beneficial for the thyroid gland and the parathyroid gland.


It is one of the best exercises to prevent and to get rid of double chin. Not only your double chin will disappear, it will also make you glow from the inside and work against wrinkles.


Performing this exercise is good for singers and speakers as it increases the strength and the blood flow in your vocal cord.
It is also good for the circulatory system and has a positive effect on your blood pressure and heart.

Due to the tension created by bending your chin, Jalandhara Bandha can help you with problems of your ears like tinnitus, eyes and all kinds of throat problems.


The stimulation of the top of the spinal cord prevents upper back and shoulder pain.
The bending of your chin will also cause the thyroid gland to release a fluid which will increase the number of white blood cells in your blood.

This strengthens your immune system and can prevent many different menstruation problems that women experience.

Focus Points

Make sure that you focus on the muscles of your throat so that you can contract them.

Tips and Help

Closing your eyes helps you to focus on the pose and to do it properly.

Jala Basti – Water Enema

Names

Jala Basti, Water Basti, Enema, Yogic Enema

Nowadays medicine knows a lot of different ways to perform enemas and recommends them as an important way of cleaning your colon. 

Ayurveda and yoga knew about the importance, too, which is why this advanced practice is also seen as very important.

How to perform Jala Basti

In order to be able to perform Jala Basti, you need to have mastered the practice of Uddiyana Bandha , Nauli and Ashwini Mudra.


Jala Basti is the sucking of water into your anus and releasing it again for cleansing purpose. In ancient times yogis went into a river until the navel and suck in the river water. Due to bacteria and the current situation of most rivers, it is rather unadvisable to do that nowadays.


Beginners can use a helping tool like a hollow pipe, the root of a lotus, a catheter or a basti yantra, which is a pipe that is narrow at one end and broad at the other side.


To perform Jala Basti, you can fill a bathtub with water and squat in the water in Utkatasana . If you use a helping tool, insert one end into the anus to keep it open to the rectum.

Perform Uddiyana Bandha and use your sphincter muscles and the Ashwini Mudra to suck water in from the anus to the rectum and to the sigmoid colon.

Very good practitioners can even pull up the water up to the descending colon. Once the water is inside, gently remove the tool if you were using one.


Now you get up and practice Nauli to move the water inside you so that is washes the colon. After that you go to toilet to force the water and the cleansed waste out of your body.
You can repeat this practice a maximum of three times in a row.

Benefits of Jala Basti

Our colon is a very important part of our body. It is important for keeping balance and harmony in between other organs. An unhealthy colon has a lot of bad effects on your complete body.


Digestive problems, bad mouth odor, irritable bowel syndrome, dryness of skin, obesity, heart problems and even depression are only a few of those problems caused by toxins stuck in the colon.

Those toxins and the problems of digestion cause difficulties with blood purification and kidney and pancreas may not fully function. This obviously leads to a weakening of the immune system and to mental problems such as stress, bad mood, insomnia, lack of sexual interest and more.


Even your joints can be affected and arthritis pain can be relieved by cleansing the waste from the colon.


The inner state of your colon also has an effect on your outer appearance. If your colon is not clean, you can easily gain weight and will have difficulty to lose it even with hard workout.

Additionally the problems with your skin can make you look older than you are.


Doing Jala Basti gives you a light and clean feeling which can change your mood and way of thinking, makes you more positive and gives you more strength, power and enthusiasm. This enthusiasm also affects your sexual energy, you feel you have more sex appeal and are overall more confident.

Additional Notice for the Practice of Jala Basti

Jala Basti and enema are not a substitute for natural bowel movement. You should not depend on Jala Basti alone to cleanse your colon. If you have difficulty getting rid of waste often, please contact a doctor.


A healthy person is recommended to have enema twice a month.


Beginners should learn this practice under guidance of an experienced yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner or medical doctor.

Relax after the practice of Jala Basti and take care to eat light and easily digestible food.

Tips and Help

If you use a pipe or any other tool, you may want to apply ghee or oil to your anus before starting the practice.


One main advice in order to succeed with Jala Basti is to be relaxed. You should not have any apprehension and should be aware that what you are doing is good for your body.


If you have difficulties performing Nauli after sucking water into your colon, you can also lie on the floor, roll over from left to right and right to left.

If you are not able to make Uddiyana Bandha and suck water in yourself, you can have an Ayurvedic Basti done or ask a doctor about a medicated enema.