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.

Vipareet Naukasana – Inverted Boat

Names

Vipareet Naukasana, Viprit Navasan, Inverted Boat Pose

How to perform Vipareet Naukasana

Lie on your belly with your feet straight and your arms straight over your head. Bring your arms to the sides of your head so that your ears are closed. Spread your fingers apart and let your tips of your thumbs touch each other.


With inhalation you now lift your hands, arms, head and chest as well as your legs up in the air. Hold your breath and balance your body on your stomach, pelvis and thighs. With exhalation you slowly move your arms and legs down and gently place them down on the floor again.

Benefits of Vipareet Naukasana

The inverted boat pose is one of the best yoga postures to reduce belly fat. It also strengthens your hips and ties which brings both, your buttocks and your legs, into a nice shape.


While strengthening the back muscles, it also positively affects your spine which comes in another position than its usual one. In this way the tissues and muscles around it remain flexible.


Through the movement in this yoga pose, the kidneys, thyroid glands and prostate gland get a soft and stimulating massage.


Through the opening of the chest, the lungs get space to expand fully and take more oxygen in. This helps you to breathe more deeply in your every day’s life, too, which is an immense help in relieving stress. People, who breathe deeply, keep their heart beat low and are less prone to stress.

When to Avoid the Inverted Boat Pose

People suffering from diarrhea, low blood pressure, insomnia or chest and heart pain should not practice Vipareet Naukasana.


Women should avoid this yoga posture during menstruation and pregnancy.
If you suffer from neck injuries, you should be very careful while practicing this pose and best of all, consult with your doctor first.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Samana Asana

Names

Samana Asana, Samana Air Posture

The pose is called Samana Asana because it has a direct effect on the Samana Vayu. The Samana Vayu is one of the five known Vayus, the airs in the body: Prana, Apana, Vyan, Samana and Udana.

How to perform Samana Asana

For practicing the Samana Air Pose, you need to be able to perform Nauli.

Sit in Siddhasana and breathe deeply. After a deep exhalation (rechaka), make Nauli. When you see Nauli clearly, grab your Nauli with both hands.


Repeat this action 3-5 times consecutively.

Benefits of Samana Asana

The Samana Vayu is located in the navel region, in the area of the Manipoor Chakra. Its purpose is to digest food and distribute energy throughout the body. Performing this pose supports the Samana Vayu and thus speeds up the digestive process. It strengthens the intestines and helps with the release of gas from the digestive system.


Of course the effect is that your appetite increases. You can, however, practice this pose, too, if you would like to lose weight. The fact that your digestion will work better will also keep your metabolism active and prevent your body from storing extra fat. Of course, this needs to be accompanied by a respective diet.

Tips and Help

Make sure you exhale completely before performing this pose and that your stomach is completely empty. If you still have food in your stomach, it can give you belly pain and you might not be able to bring out the Nauli. The best time to perform Samana Asana is before meals, especially in the morning before breakfast.


If you struggle with getting a grip on your nauli, don’t despair but keep practicing first a strong and firm nauli and then try to grab it.

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.

Pawanmuktasana – Wind Releasing Pose

Names

Pawanmuktasana, Gas Releasing Pose, Wind Releasing Pose

How to perform Pawanmuktasana

Lie in Supta Samastithi, with your body flat on the floor. Check to see which nostril is more active, bend that knee, interlace your fingers and grab your lower leg just under your knee. With exhalation you now pull your leg towards your chest and at the same time lift your head and touch your knee with your nose.


Slowly bring your head and leg back to the floor while inhaling. Relax and then repeat the exercise with the other leg. Repeat it eight to ten times.

Benefits of Pawanmuktasana

This pose regulates the Apana and the Samana Vayu, the air in your intestines and your digestive system.


Through the pressure on these areas, the posture releases gas which is stuck in stomach and intestines. It is thus a great posture against a bloated stomach.


It stimulates digestion and thus prevents and cures constipation.

The exercise of this yoga position helps your heart to pump the blood through the body.
Your belly muscles are tightened and if you do this yoga asana regularly and with many repetitions, you will soon realize how you reduce excessive belly fat and make your belly slim.

Focus Points

Make sure your second leg remains straight on the floor. Do not bend your second knee and don’t lift your leg from the floor.

Tips and Help

This yoga exercise is most effective, if you do it slowly and with a rhythm. This is why it is best to exhale once when you come up and inhale once when you lie back down.


If you are suffering from constipation, perform this pose after drinking some water. It will help your bowel movements and additionally stimulate digestion.

Paschimottanasana – Forward Bending

Names

Paschimottanasana, Forward Bending

How to perform Paschimottanasana

Sit in Dandasana with your legs straight in front of you. Inhale and stretch your arms straight upwards. With exhalation you bend forwards. Grab your toes and place your upper body on your legs.


Keep normal breathing.


Sit up with inhalation

Benefits of Paschimottanasana

This yoga posture is a very good exercise for reducing belly fat and extra weight from the hips.


It gives a strengthening stretch and flexibility to your leg muscles and hamstrings and you can feel its work in the muscles from your toes until your neck.


Paschimottanasana is recommended especially for women after delivery as it helps to regain strength and slim shape. Also women currently experiencing menopause, are advised to perform this yoga posture.

Liver, kidneys, pancreas and ovaries are some of the organs that benefit from you doing this posture. It has a beneficial effect on digestion and appetite.


Additionally this posture regulates blood pressure.

Focus Points

Your knees should be straight and while bending forward also try to keep your back straight.


Even if you cannot bend fully until you can place your upper body on your legs, you can concentrate with each breath to go more to the front and more down. Bend further and further.


Take care not to turn your soles towards each other as it will reduce the work of the posture.

Tips and Help

If you cannot reach your toes, grab your legs wherever you can reach them and bend forward as much as is possible for you.

When to Avoid Paschimottanasana

Avoid performing this yoga posture if you suffer from back injuries or diarrhea.