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.

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.

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.

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.

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.