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.

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.

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

Names

Utkatasana

Some people also call Utkasana the ‘Crow Pose’, a name which we use for ‘Kagasana’. Please do not get confused, this is only a name. The Sanskrit term ‘Utkatasana’ is difficult to translate literally, this is why in English several names appear for this yoga posture.

How to sit in Utkatasana

Squat with the weight on the front of your feet and lift your heels up so that your buttocks rest on your heels and bring your back up straight. Place your hands on your knees.

Benefits of Utkatasana

This yoga posture strengthens your feet, toes, thighs and buttocks as well as the hamstring. It brings flexibility into your toes and ankles and id great for practicing balance.
Utkatasana also helps with gastric problems and digestion difficulties. It stimulates and activates digestion and the Apan Vaiu which is responsible for your metabolism and your natural urge. 

Upavistha Konasana

Names

Upavistha Konasana, Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend

How to perform Upavistha Konasana

Sit in Dandasana with your legs and spine straight. Spread your legs apart as wide until you feel a light stretch in your upper inner thighs. Bend forward with exhalation as much as possible. The aim is to place your upper body flat on the floor with the chin on the floor.

Benefits of Upavistha Konasana

When you perform the wide seated forward bend, you will immediately feel where this yoga pose works: at the inner side as well as the back of your legs. The leg and thigh muscles as well as the hamstrings are being stretched.


Through the pressure on your belly, your intestines get a nice massage which stimulates your digestion.

Focus Points

In order to get the best effect of this exercise, you should keep your knees straight at all times and also try to keep your spine as straight as possible.

Tips and Help

In order to support your hips during this exercise, you can place a cushion or a rolled blanket under your buttocks.


If you have problems in bending forward, you can bring your legs closer together in beginning and then bend forward. After some practice however you should then try to open them wider again.


In your first attempts, you can place your hand on the floor and slowly move them further to the front, like walking on the floor.


If you want to feel some more stretch, you can grab your toes and pull yourself down.

Upavistha Konasana with a Partner

This yoga posture can nicely be practiced with a partner. Practicing it together makes it easier to go down with the upper body.


Sit in front of each other, spread the legs wide and let your feet touch each other with the soles. Now you hold your partner’s hands and pull him towards you until he tells you to stop. Hold him in this position and then slowly let him come up again. Then it is his turn to pull you down towards him.

Uddiyana Bandha – Upward Abdominal Lock

Names

Uddiyana Bandha , Abdominal Lock, Upward Abdominal Lock

How to perform Uddiyana Bandha

This posture can be performed while sitting or standing. Take a deep breath. Exhale completely until no air is left in your lungs and belly. In both, the standing and sitting position you should place your hands on your knees and lean forward during exhalation which will help you to press all air out.


After exhalation, hold your breath and contract your belly muscles so that your navel is pulled further inside and up, towards your middle back.


Stay in that position until you feel like inhaling. For coming out of the yoga pose relax your belly muscles and straighten your body with inhalation.

Benefits of Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha is one of the three major ‘body locks’ known as Tribandha.
It is a very beneficial pose for your complete respiratory system. It strengthens your diaphragm and your lungs and helps you to breathe easily after practice.

The Apana Vayu, the air located between navel and anus, is regulated which can prevent problems with gas in the intestines. It is also good for Samana Vayu which is the air in the navel region and can cause digestion problems when it is disturbed. Prana Vayu which lies in your heart region will also be regulated and thus acidity and breathing problems are prevented. You see that Uddiyana Bandha is beneficial for your complete torso.


It increases the digestive fire and detoxifies the digestive tract which improves your whole digestion.


Uddiyana Bandha helps against Colitis.


The contraction given by this posture is good for your solar plexus, which boosts your self-esteem and power of decision.


Additionally Uddiyana Bandha is used to increase and strengthen the blood flow in the brain and to regulate the blood circulation in your abdomen. It is healthy for your cardiac activity and the health of your heart. A regular practice can relieve problems with high blood pressure and the heart in general. Its benefits even go as far as to reduce problems with glaucoma.


Another area that greatly benefits from the practice of this yoga pose is the sexual organs of both men and women. You can practice Uddiyana Bandha for many kinds of sexual problems and dysfunctions.


Women can do this pose to reduce PMS pain during their cycle. It is good for the ovaries and the fallopian tubes and to prevent uterus collapses. If you suffer from irregular menstruations cycles or other genealogical problems this position might be a solution for you if you practice it regularly.


Men may find that premature ejaculation and hydrocele can be prevented with this pose.
Pain of a previous hernia injury can be relieved by performing this pose.


It is also a beneficial exercise for the bladder, the urinal tract and the gall bladder.
As Uddiyana Bandha contracts liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and colon, it improves their performance.

When you start practicing this exercise you will quickly notice that it strengthens the abdominal muscles. This naturally gives your belly a nice shape and makes this exercise very effective for losing extra belly fat.

Focus Points

While you are in the pose you should concentrate on pulling your navel as much up and in as possible.

Tips and Help

Perform this posture always with an empty stomach. Doing it with full stomach can give you belly and stomach pain.


Always exhale from your mouth to get all air out of your body.


Do not inhale while trying to keep the posture. When you feel like inhaling, come up and let your belly fill itself with air.


Please take care not to overwork or cross your limits. It could make you dizzy and you even lead to fainting, if you don’t listen to your body.

Udarakarshanasana

Names

Udarakarshanasana, Janu Padasana, Abdominal Stretch

How to perform Udarakarshanasana

Sit on your heels with your hands on your knees in Utkatasana . With exhalation turn your hip so that your right knee comes down to your left foot. Go back into the starting position with inhalation and then turn your hip again that your left knee comes to your right foot. Repeat this movement ten times for each side.

Benefits of Udarakarshanasana

Udarakarshanasana is good for toes, ankles, knee joints and legs. You turn the joints and move them so that they remain flexible.


Apart from the acupressure points that are activated through the sitting position on the heels, this yoga exercises creates a movement of the bowels which helps the complete digestive system. Your stomach and your intestines are stimulated and if you practice Udarakarshanasana regularly, you hardly run a risk of suffering from constipation.

Perform this posture after drinking water and the effect will be even better. This posture pushes the water down your body and stimulates Apana Vayu, the air in your intestines, so that a pressure is created that will make you go to toilet.


Your bladder, urinary tract and also your liver are stimulated to work properly through this pose. If you suffer from urinary incontinence or urinary retention this yoga posture can help to relieve the symptoms.


It is also one of the exercises used for Shankha Prakshalana which is a yogic method for cleaning the intestines.

Tips and Help

Make sure you have your weight on your toes and wear lose clothes so that there is no pressure on your belly.


Regulate the movement with your breathing to get a proper effect from the posture.
If you wish for a relieving effect, drink warm to hot water before performing the yoga posture and make sure you are close to a toilet. It usually always works!