Tolasana – Scale Pose

Names

Tolasana, Scale Pose

How to perform Tolasana

Sit straight in Padmasan and place your hands on the floor at your sides. Exhale and lift your buttocks from the ground by lifting your weight with your hands. Hang your full weight onto your arms as if you were a bag of Rice and needed to measure the weight of it. Hold the position for a few breaths, then inhale and slowly come back down to the floor.

Benefits of Tolasana

The scale pose obviously strengthens your arms and shoulders so that they can hold the weight of your body.


Through the way how the muscles work in this pose in order to lift your feet from the ground, your abdominal organs are massaged and digestion is stimulated. People suffering from bloated stomach and gas in the belly get relief.

Focus Points

It is quite obviously what to focus on, right? Lift your buttocks up! With the force of exhalation you lift your whole weight up.

Tips and Help

Do you think you cannot do this exercise because your arms seem to be shorter than other people’s arms? Well, of course the easiest option would be simply not to perform this yoga pose… but a more satisfying solution is to first shift your weight to your arms and lift it as much as you can. Slowly and with regular practice you will be able to lift it a bit more and more until you are fully in the air. Try to compact your lower body as much as you can.

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.

Parvatasana – Hill Pose

Names

Parvatasana, Hill Pose, also called Mountain Pose

How to perform Parvatasana

Sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana or in Swastikasana. Inhale deeply while bringing your arms straight above your head. Hold your breath while also keeping your arms up. When you feel like exhaling, bring your arms down and slowly exhale.


Perform this pose three to five times consecutively.

Benefits of Parvatasana

This yoga exercise makes your shoulders flexible and gives relief to your neck and upper back muscles.


You can imagine the positive effect that this yoga asana has on your respiratory system. You fill your lungs consciously with much air, hold it until all oxygen is used and then completely exhale all the used air. A regular repetition of this exercise brings you the habit of breathing more deeply in your normal breathing, too, which brings more oxygen in your system and makes your more active in general.


The regular deep breathing relaxes your complete system and helps you managing stress, tension and pressure of your every day’s life with more ease.


With this exercise you increase the blood circulation in your body and help your heart with its job.

Tips and Help

To increase the benefits of this yoga posture, you can do the counting of Puraka (inhalation), Kumbhaka (holding breath) and Rechaka (exhalation) as described in our ‘Pranayama’ category.

Padma Trikonasana

Names

Padma Trikonasana, Lotus Triangle

How to perform Padma Trikonasana

Sit in Padmasana, the Lotus Seat, with your back straight. The next step is to interlace your fingers in your back. With exhalation you lift your hands up and you will feel how your upper body nearly automatically bends forward. Place your chin on the floor and bring the hands up so that they are at a 90 degrees angle from the floor. A visitor looking at you from the front will see that your arms look like a triangle now.

Benefits of Padma Trikonasana

Obviously this exercise is good for practicing flexibility, especially for your shoulders. It opens them and creates extra space in your chest to breathe freely. Your arm and leg muscles get a good stretch.


It is an extensive forward bending exercise that squeezes your abdomen area and intestines tightly together before giving them space again. This helps with digestion and releasing gas.


In the same way it is beneficial for problems with sexuality.

Breathing for Padma Trikonasana

Exhale when bending forward, keep breathing normally while in the posture and slowly come out of the posture with inhalation.

Focus Points

Concentrate on one thing at a time. First of all learn to do Padmasana. If you are not good in the lotus seat, do it with legs crossed.


Next, you focus on bringing your upper body down. Your breathing can support you in this if you come a bit more down with each exhalation.


Finally bring your arms more up so that they point straight up to the sky.

Mushti Sanchalan – Fist Rotation

Names

Mushti Sanchalan, Fist Rotation

How to perform Mushti Sanchalan

Sit in Dandasana with your legs straight. Stretch your arms straight to the front and make fists by grabbing your thumbs with all other fingers. Rotate your fists 20 times to the inside and 20 times to the outside.

Benefits of Fist Rotation

If you do this exercise, you will immediately feel yourself, how it works with your upper back, your neck and your shoulders. Of course it is good for strengthening the muscles in your complete arms and your torso.


If you often have upper back and neck pain or even had a slip disc in your upper back, you should regularly perform this yoga asana and you will feel how you get relief through the strengthening of your muscles in that area.


It is one of the basic poses that is practiced for stress management as it releases tension from your neck area that is very typical for people who act under pressure.

Focus Points

Take care that your elbows, neck and spine remain straight while performing Mushti Sanchalan.

Tips and Help

If you have difficulties sitting with your legs and back straight in Dandasana for this pose, you can do it in any other sitting pose that suits you.


Children love this exercise and you can make a game out of it, seeing how long they can keep their arms up.

Matsyasana – Fish Posture

Names

Matsyasana, Fish Pose

How to perform Matsyasana

Lie in Samasthiti on the floor. Now bend your knees and bring your legs and feet into Padmasana. Lay your legs back down to the floor while you keep your back on the floor, too.


Press your elbows, lower arms and hands to the floor and raise your torso up so that you can place the crown of your head on the floor. This enables you to see behind you.
Now bring your arms in front of your chest into the Namaste position. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.


To come out of the pose, first place your hands and elbows on the floor and then slowly lift your head, lay your back down on the floor and in the end stretch your legs again.

This is how the traditional Matsyasana is explained in the scriptures, but there are modifications that can be done to make it easier.


If you cannot perform Padmasana, you can also keep your legs straight. Or you could perform Padmasana as much you can, for example cross your legs.

If you feel too much pressure on your head when its crown is on the floor and your hands up in front of your chest, you can also keep your hands on the floor.

Do not however place your hands under your hips. If you do, you put the complete weight and work of this exercise to your arms, which is not its purpose.

Benefits of Matsyasana

This yoga pose directly works with your complete back, from your neck down to your hips. You bring movement into your spine and shoulders which improves your posture and which can reduce back pain. You stretch your neck muscles and your back muscles in a way that you don’t do in your daily routine.


Matsyasana does not only work with your back but also with your front. Your abdominal muscles get a good stretch and you thus give room to your abdominal organs and intestines. By this movement you can even help constipation problems.


Women can do this yoga pose in order to relieve menstrual pain. Matsyasana strengthens the muscles around your reproductive organs and increases the blood flow. This helps to increase fertility of men and women.


At the same time, your respiratory system is getting stretched and you thus help your body to take in more oxygen. If you suffer from Asthma, this pose can give you relieve, as it opens the lungs and increases their capacity.


The whole area is stimulated and thus the thyroid gland and your pineal and adrenal glands are activated, too.


You open your chest when you are in this pose and blood is pumped properly through the body.


Additionally you tone and strengthen your pelvic area and flex your hips, especially when doing it in Padmasana.


Through the enhanced blood flow to the head and brain, fatigue, tiredness and the feeling of being lazy can vanish through this pose. You get new energy!

Focus Points

Focus on the bend of your back and feel the stretch.

Tips and Help

You should always respect your limits and never cross them. When you start Matsyasana, try to do it right away in the complete way or as close to it as possible. Then your body gets used to practicing the right pose from the beginning.


If you have a weak neck, you can also use a blanket under your neck.

Malasana – Garland Pose

Names

Malasana, Garland Pose, Squat Pose, Shitting Pose

At the base of this posture’s name, there is a big misunderstanding and a confusion of Sanskrit words. The commonly known but unfortunately wrong English term is ‘Garland Pose’.


The idea behind this translation is that ‘Malasana’ comes from the Sanskrit word Maalaa which would correctly be transcribed as ‘Maalaa’ and which indeed would be a garland. Where however in this pose do you see a necklace or garland?

When being asked, some people say it is the pose of receiving a flower garland, a common form of honouring someone in India.


The truth however is that ‘Malasana’ comes from the Sanskrit word Mala which would be transcribed as ‘Mala’ and which would mean excrement or shit. Indeed, the traditional way of going to toilet in India is by squatting on the floor. 

Yoga actually describes that in this posture, the intestines are in the best position to release all waste that is left after digestion. It is thus in reality a Shitting Pose.

माला = Mala (Maalaa) = Garland, Necklace, Rosary

मल = Mala = Excrement, Shit

By comparing the original writing, the Devanagari script, you can clearly see that the mistake happened in the transliteration where the English is lacking a proper writing for the long and short ‘a’.


The conclusion however is that in hundreds of modern English yoga books and popular yoga websites, for example Yoga Journal, Malasana is wrongly translated with ‘Garland Pose’.

How to perform Malasana

Squat with your feet flat on the floor, the feet about the width of your hips apart from each other.

Let your pelvis hang down with all your body weight. Bring your elbows in front of your knees and place your palms together in the pose of Namaste.

Now make effort to bring your trunk in between your legs, look straight to the front and keep on smiling.

Benefits of Malasana

This yoga pose is especially good for pregnant women as a regular practice of this posture alleviates delivery. It helps you to open your hips and in the last days of pregnancy helps to make your baby feel the pull down – it can make the birth happen a bit earlier especially if the child is already late.


Malasana is also beneficial for women who are not pregnant and men as well! It strengthens your calves and ankles, your feet and your toes. It relaxes your lower back and the muscles simply feel the pull of gravity down towards earth.


Malasana – as its real name actually already tells – helps against constipation and brings your bowels again in the right rhythm so that the functions of your metabolism work properly.

Focus Points

While you keep your feet flat, keep your body weight on your toes as much as possible.

Tips and Help

If you get tired in this yoga pose, bring your body weight to the back on the heels for a while before you shift it back to the front. It will feel like swinging your weight in between your toes and heels which will not only help you giving comfort in the pose but also exercise your leg muscles.

When to Avoid Malasana

People with bad knee injuries should avoid this posture.

Kurmasana – Turtle Pose

Names

Kurmasana, Skandhjanuasana,Kachhapasana, Turtle Pose

How to perform Kurmasana

Sit in Dandasana with your legs stretched out in front of you. Open your legs to a distance of about one meter in between your feet.


Exhale and bend forward slide your hands and arms under your legs and straighten your arms so that your shoulders are in between your legs. Your legs remain straight and on the floor.


You are right in the posture when your knees come to lie on top of your shoulders.

This is how this posture got its name ‘Skandhjanuasana’ with ‘Skandh’ meaning shoulders and ‘Janu’ meaning knees.

If someone looked down on you from above, you would look to him like a turtle, which is why it is also called ‘turtle pose’ or in Sanskrit ‘Kurmasana’ or ‘Kachhapasana’.

Keep on breathing normally while you are in the posture. To come out of the posture you slowly bend your knees, bring your arms out from under it and sit up while inhaling again.

Benefits of Kurmasana

With practice of this yoga asana you strengthen your thighs, shoulders and hips by stretching those muscles.


As you can imagine, you can work on your flexibility with Kurmasana. You open your hips as well as your shoulders.


It is a yoga posture that is good for lungs and heart and it strengthens your back muscles.

Focus Points

The goal of this yoga exercise is to lie flat on the floor.


If you are flexible enough for bending forward completely and bringing your shoulders under your knees, you can focus on straightening your knees and bringing them closer together over your shoulders.

Tips and Help

If you have difficulties with bending forward, you can first practice a simple forward bend with Paschimottasana. This will help you bring the flexibility to hamstrings and muscles in your back.

When to Avoid doing Kurmasana

Do not perform this yoga exercise if you have any kind of back pain.