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.

Titali Asana – Butterfly

Names

Titali Asana Butterfly Pose

How to perform Titali Asana

Sit straight in Dandasana with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your knees, place the soles of your feet together and grab your feet with your hand. Pull them as close to your body as you can so that you feel the stretch.


Next step: start flying!


You move your knees up and down as high and low as you can.

Benefits of Titali Asana

The butterfly pose is good for the spine and lower back as well as your hip joints. It strengthens the muscles of your hips and legs and makes your hamstrings more flexible.

Focus Points

Sit straight and continue your normal breathing. You should feel the stretch in your legs. If not, pull your feet closer to your body and move your knees higher and lower.


Don’t make a hunchback and don’t jump with each movement of your butterfly wings. Just move the legs, not the complete body.

When to Avoid Titali Asana

If you are suffering from spinal injury or experience pain or discomfort in knees and hips while performing the posture, please consult your doctor and yoga teacher if it is safe for you to do the pose.

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.

Supta Vajrasana

Names

Supta Vajrasana, Fixed Firm Pose, Reclining Adamant Pose, Pelvic Posture

How to perform Supta Vajrasana

Sit on your heels in Vajrasana. Lean back and gently place your elbows on the floor behind you. Now slowly lie back while being in Vajrasana so that your knees are still bending and your upper back lies on the floor. To come out of this posture lean your body on the left side and slowly come up.


To make this position more advanced you can combine it with Matsyasana by placing the top of your head on the floor and bringing your arms in front of your chest in namaste pose or by placing them straight over your head on the floor.


For an easier version of this position you can slide your feet next to your buttocks and place your hands next to your body or under your back.

Benefits of Supta Vajrasana

Supta Vajrasana stretches and strengthens the thigh muscles, abdominal muscles, makes your knees, spine and ankles more flexible and gives your calves and thighs a nice shape.
This pose is helpful with many problems like constipation, sciatica, gout, varicose veins, diaphragm, colitis, thrombosis and rheumatism.


You should practice Supta Vajrasana when you have lower and middle back pain as it gives a beneficial stretch to your back and also your hips.


It stretches and stimulates the internal organs especially the pelvic organs like pancreas, liver and kidneys.


This pose it especially beneficial for women because the stretch and the stimulation of the pelvic region has a good effect on the ovaries and fallopian tubes which prevents und cures menstruation pain, reduces the complications of pregnancy and constipation during pregnancy and it makes it easier to give birth to the child.

Tips and Help

Beginners should always use a pillow or a blanket under their back.
Pregnant women should also use a folded blanket or pillow under their hips and back and should open their knees wide.

When to Avoid Supta Vajrasana

Avoid this yoga posture when you are suffering from torn ligaments, knee injuries or an injured meniscus.

Sarvangabaddhasana

Names

Sarvangabaddhasana, Supta-Baddha-Asana, Complete body Lock

How to perform Sarvangabaddhasana

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your hands loosely by your side. Now cross your legs to Padmasan, the lotus seat and lift your legs up so that they come lying on your chest. Stretch out your arms in front of you and then place them down onto your legs, reaching with the hands to your buttocks if you can.

Benefits of Sarvangabaddhasana

Practicing this yoga pose, the complete body lock, is beneficial for your abdomen area. It can help you with gastric problems and enhances digestion.

Through the contraction of muscles in the pelvic region, sarvangabaddhasana also helps your sexual energy.


It brings flexibility to your legs and strength to your arms.

Focus Points

You should feel the stretch but not pain. While you are in the posture, keep on breathing normally. Inhale when you come out of the posture.

Tips and Help

Start with practicing Padmasana and forward-bending first before starting practice of the complete body lock.

When to Avoid doing Sarvangabaddhasana

Please avoid this yoga posture if you are suffering from any kind of back pain, joints pain, from heavy asthma or from diarrhea.

Purna Matsyendra Asana – Full Spinal Twist

Names

Purna Matsyendra Asana, Full Spinal Twist

How to perform Purna Matsyendra Asana

Sit in Dandasana with your legs stretched in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your left foot on top of your right thigh with the heel touching your belly.


Bend your right knee, place your right foot outside of the left knee with the sole on the floor just like in Ardha Matsyendra Asana.


The remaining steps are also the same:


With exhalation you twist your upper body and bring your left shoulder outside of the right knee. Place your left hand on the right foot and grab your toes. Place your right hand behind your back on the floor, about half a meter away from your tailbone.


Keep normal breathing and look back over your right shoulder.


Slowly come out of the posture and repeat it from the other side.

Benefits of Purna Matsyendra Asana

The full spinal twist enhances the blood circulation and stimulates your nerves. It is thus beneficial for your brain, too.


With Purna Matsyendra Asana you can burn fat and regain flexibility.


When performing this yoga posture you stretch and strengthen your thigh and back muscles, your shoulders and your knees.


Purna Matsyendra Asana is great if you have digestion or gas problems.

Focus Points

The left foot should be as close to your torso as possible and your right leg should stand straight, with the sole completely on the floor.


Concentrate on turning and twisting your spinal column as much as possible while keeping the back straight. Include your neck area by turning your head, too.

Tips and Help

Only practice brings perfection, so don’t worry if also in this pose you do not seem to bring your spine into the full twist in the beginning. You can start practicing Ardha Matsyendra Asana first and later practice the full spinal twist.

When to Avoid the Full Spinal Twist

People with spinal injuries such as slip disc in any part of the spine as well as people with knee injuries should avoid performing this yoga pose.

Prishthabhimukhasana

How to perform Prishthabhimukhasana

Sit in Dandasana. Now twist your upper body to one side and place your palms behind you on the floor. They can be a good bit behind your buttocks.


Now exhale and bring your head down as far as you can, turning your shoulder along, your face now close to the floor.


Remain in the pose for some time and enjoy feeling the stretch in your side.
Slowly come out of the pose with inhalation and turn to the other side
Repeat this exercise several times on both sides.

Benefits of Prishthabhimukhasana

This yoga pose brings you flexibility in your upper body, your neck, shoulders and your arms.
Through the twist of your torso, your intestines and stomach get massaged which gives a positive stimulation to your digestive system.


It additionally helps you to shape your belly and lose extra belly fat.
You can even do this exercise when you are in bed.

Tips and Help

If you are suffering from lower back pain or slip disk pain, this pose should be avoided.

Prishtha Kartari – Back Clapping

Names

Prishtha Kartari, Back clapping

How to perform Prishtha Kartari

Sit in Sukhasana, Guptasana, Vajrasana, Bhadrasana or Padmasana. Sit straight, keep your arms and hands straight, and stretch them out to the front you’re your elbows straight. Your palms should be facing each other.


With inhalation you open your arms to your side and then further to your back. Clap behind your back without bending your elbows and while keeping your arms as high as possible.

With exhalation you bring your arms to the front again and clap again there. Repeat this until your arms are tired.

Benefits of Prishtha Kartari

This yoga practice is very good for your shoulders and the muscles in your whole upper and middle back region. It releases tension from these muscles and makes them more flexible.
This exercise for your back muscles can prevent back pain and also help if you are suffering from pain in that region.


Additionally the exercise opens your lungs and gives room for your respiratory system to expand.

Focus Points

While clapping you should keep your elbows straight and keep the arms in an angle of 90 degrees to your body. Of course this is not as easy in the back as it is in the front. The higher you keep your arms in the back, the more effective the exercise is.

Tips and Help

If you have difficulties clapping in your back, try to keep your spine straight, which generally makes it easier.


If you cannot clap but would like to get most of this exercise, you can move your arms to your back as high as possible and as far as possible, without clapping.

Prasthbadhasan

How to perform Prasthbadhasan

Sit with your knee bent and your soles flat on the floor. Keep your feet together and pull them as close to your perineum as you can.


Open your knees apart without moving your feet. Lean forward with your upper body and bring your shoulders and arms in front of your knees. Take care not to lift your buttocks off the floor.


Straighten your arms and try to grab your hands from your back.

Benefits of Prasthbadhasan

This yoga pose strengthens your arms, shoulder and neck muscles. It opens the chest and helps in achieving a good posture by making you stand straight instead of hunch-backed.
It additionally brings flexibility to the whole body.

Focus Points

The focus of Prasthbadhasan is of course to bring the hands together but before this step is achieved you need to concentrate on bringing the feet closer and your shoulders in front of your knees.


Take care that you sit with your buttocks on the floor.

Tips and Help

In the beginning you might have difficulties even bringing your legs close enough to your body. With regular practice and time however you will be able to push your shoulders more and more to the front. Keep on trying, you will succeed!

When to Avoid Prasthbadhasan

Do not go into this yoga posture if you have injuries of the shoulders.