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.

Ujjayi Pranayama

Names

Ujjayi Pranayama, Ocean Breath

How to perform Ujjayi Pranayama

Sit in Siddhasana , Vajrasana, Padmasana or Bhadrasana with a straight spine. To practice Ujjayi Pranayama you inhale and exhale trough the nostrils. Inhale deeply and while you do that bring the back of your tongue up, thus making the passageway for air in your windpipe tighter. You will realize that you are making the sound of the ocean by pressing the air through smaller space than usual. During exhalation you do the same sound again.


The inhalation should last as long as the exhalation so that you are breathing in a steady rhythmus. Another possibility is to make the exhalation of the breath twice the time of the inhalation. You may not have noticed but you probably often do this sound without being aware of it as it is pleasant for your ears and provides relaxation.


There are two possible variations for Ujjayi Pranayama. The first one is to include Kumbhaka, the holding of breath in between inhalation and exhalation.


The second variation is to make Kumbhaka after the exhalation and to hold the breath out.

Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama

Ujjayi Pranayama is a good pose for providing relaxation to the mind and your senses. It reduces the blood pressure and heart rate.


As it calms the mind it is also a beneficial pose for seniors to relax.

Ujjayi Pranayama is very good for meditation practitioner because you can increase focus and concentration by practicing it. It also purifies and activates the energy within the body and provides us control over the mental and physical body which is why it is also a good exercise for hyperactivity.


When you are suffering from pain, insomnia, migraine or headache you can relieve some of the symptoms by doing this pose regularly. It is also good against heat in the head.
Because of the deep breathing and the intensive works with the lungs this posture enhances the functions of the respiratory system.


You can practice this exercise in your office in the middle of your work. Just take a short break and perform a few rounds of Ujjayi Pranayama and it will refresh your mind and you can start all the things going on in your mind with new strength. You start with new energy and clear thoughts.

Focus Points

Make sure that your mouth is closed and you are breathing through your nose. You should be focused on relaxing yourself instead of being busy doing this exercise in perfection.

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.

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 Bheda Pranayama

Names

Surya Bheda Pranayama, Surya Bhedana Pranayama, Right Nostril Breathing

Surya means sun, Bheda means breaking through something. The right nostril is the doorway of Pingala Nadi, representing the sun energy, the hot energy or the masculine energy in our body. It is the energy which is responsible for activeness and physical work. By practicing this exercise we are intensively activating the sun energy or in other words making a break-through of sun energy by activating the right nostril breathing.

How to perform Surya Bheda Pranayama

For practicing this breathing exercise, sit comfortably in Siddhasana , Padmasana or Bhadrasana.

Make the Vishnu Mudra. Close your left nostril with your little and ring finger. Now inhale deeply and slowly without making any noise.

After completing the inhalation close your right nostril with your thumb. Make Kumbhaka and hold the breath. Now make Jalandhara Bandha. For exhalation, you go out of the Jalandhara Bandha Open the left nostril and exhale accordingly. You can repeat this pose in the same manner 3 to 5 times.


During the exercise the you should count in the following way:
Count to 2 during inhalation, to 8 while holding the breath and to 4 during exhalation. You can also count 4, 16, 8 or 8, 32, 16 if it fits you better.

Benefits of Surya Bheda Pranayama

Surya Bheda Pranayama is a very good exercise for Vata problems and cures problems with gas in the abdominal region.


It stimulates the brain as it activates the sun energy which increases the heat in the body.


It is helpful for women who are suffering from a lack of sexual desire or have problems to achieve an orgasm.


If you often have cold feet and hands do this exercise and get warm again!

Focus Points

Make sure and be aware that you are actively breathing from the right nostril.

Tips and Help

You can start with the low counting and then increase it.
In the very beginning of your practice you can even start doing it without Kumbhaka (the holding) and Jalandhara Bandha. That will make you feel more comfortable with the breathing. Then you slowly introduce those elements into the exercise.

When to Avoid Surya Bheda Pranayama

It should not be performed if you are suffering from any kind of fever as it increases the heat your body. If you currently have diarrhea, please also avoid this pose.
People who have high Pitta or acidity should avoid this posture as well.

Sukhasana – Sit Easy Pose

How to do Sukhasana

Sit down comfortably on the floor and cross your legs. Keep your back and spine straight and relax your shoulders.

Benefits of Sukhasana

This yoga pose is frequently used in meditation and breathing practice. It helps you to relax and calm body and mind.

Focus Points

In this yoga posture you should be able to relax. The focus lies on sitting comfortably, with the shoulders relaxed and no pain or effort in any of your body parts.

Tips and Help when Facing Problems

If you are not able to bring your legs together very closely to the body, do not force yourself but keep them as close as it is comfortable for you. You can support your knees with cushions if necessary.

You can also place a cushion under your tailbone which will help you sit straight and reduce the pressure on your lower back.
If longer sitting is still difficult for you, try supporting your back by leaning against a wall.

When to Avoid Sukhasana

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. 

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.

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.