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.

Ushtrasana – Camel Pose

Names

Ushtrasana, Camel Pose

How to perform Ushtrasana

Kneel in Vajrasana, then raise your body so that you do not longer sit on your heels. Increase the distance in between your knees and in between your feet so that they are the shoulder-width apart from each other.


Now place your right hand on your right heel and your left hand on your left heel. Push your pelvis to the front, your chest upwards and let your head hang back.


To come out of the yoga pose, raise your head up, bring your pelvis back, your chest back, then leave the grip of your heels and slowly sit back down in Vajrasana.

Benefits of Ushtrasana

Ushtrasana is a posture recommended for pregnant women as it alleviates delivery.
It is a yoga posture good for your abdominal area with the pancreas, bladder and liver. It gives a strengthening stretch to these organs and muscles. It brings flexibility to your upper body and gives room for your lungs to expand.

Focus Points

Press your heels down with the hands to give the proper stretch and push your pelvis to the front to increase the arch.


Don’t forget to breathe!

When to Avoid Ushtrasana

Do not perform the camel pose if you have injuries in the lower back or shoulder area. It is also not advised for practitioners who have high or low blood pressure or migraine problems.
 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sthula Basti

Names

Sthula Basti

The Sanskrit word Sthula has various meanings from heavy and large to thick, fat and big. When you one says ‘Sthula Sharir’, it means the physical, solid body.

Sthula Basti is thus the practice of Basti with your physical body.

How to perform Sthula Basti

Always perform Sthula Basti on empty stomach.


Sit in Dandasana and open your hips with the help of your hands, so that your Mooladhar Chakra, coccyx bone and anus touch the floor. Now move your right hip to the front while the left hip goes back and then the other way around. Now turn them clockwise and after that anticlockwise.

Benefits of Sthula Basti

This exercise is good for giving a kind of internal colon massage. By the movement you release stuck gas from your colon and force down any waste that may be stuck at the walls of the colon. In this way it releases toxins which can cause problems in the intestines.
At the same time it releases stress and tension from the pelvic floor and coccyx area.

Your complete anal region, perineum, hips and buttocks are massaged.
This massage is also good for your sexual energy.

Tips and Help

A good way to encourage your hips to move can be playing music during this exercise.

When to avoid Sthula Basti

This Kriya should not be performed if you have pressure of urine or stool and also not if you suffer from cramps or stomach pain, piles or diarrhea.