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.

Naukasana – Boat Pose

Names

Naukasana, Boat Pose

How to perform Naukasana

Lie flat on the floor with your arms by your side. With exhalation you lift both of your legs straight in the air and at the same time lift your upper body from the ground with your arms stretched out towards your legs.


Hold the posture until you feel your muscles getting tired and slowly place your body back onto the floor.


Increase the length of holding the yoga posture with each time you practice.

Benefits of Naukasana

The boat pose strengthens your belly muscles as well as your thigh muscles. Internally it is beneficial for kidneys, thyroid gland and prostate glands.


Naukasana improves digestion and is a good exercise for training your belly.

Tips and Help

You can either increase the length of holding or the frequency of repetition. If you want to lose weight with yoga poses, you can repeat Naukasana more frequently and it will burn extra fat from your belly and thighs.

When to Avoid Naukasana

Do not practice Naukasana if you have heavy asthma or if you suffer from diarrhea or headache. Women should not perform the boat pose during menstruation.

Gulf Vritt Sanchalan – Ankle Rotation

Names

Gulf Vritt Sanchalan, Ankle Rotation Exercise

How to perform Gulf Vritt Sanchalan

Sit in Dandasana with your spine straight. Place your hands on your hips and start moving your feet in a circular motion. You make big circles with your toes and count.

Then change direction and move them the other way around, counting until the same number.

Benefits of Gulf Vritt Sanchalan

Rotating ankles is obviously a very good exercise for your legs. You shape your thighs, reduce excessive fat and strengthen the thigh muscles.


Also your back thanks you for practicing it. Especially the muscles of the lower back are strengthened.


This exercise is often recommended by physiotherapists against pain due to slip discs or a false position of the sacrum.

Focus Points

Take care that the inner sides of your feet touch each other at all times. The strength with which you move your feet should be same on both sides.

Tips and Help

The bigger you make your circles, the bigger will be the effect and the quicker you will get your thighs in shape and your lower back muscles strong!


And the best thing about this exercise is: You can do it anywhere, whether you are in office, in a train, a plane or at home on your yoga mat!

Gati Avarodha Pranayama

Names

Gati Avarodha Pranayama, Speed Breaker Breathing

How to perform Gati Avarodha Pranayama

This exercise is called ‘Speed Breaker Breathing’, because in its performance it sounds as if you are just driving over a speed breaker while breathing.


While you inhale, you stop twice for a very short time, so that the inhalation is separated into three parts. With the last part you inhale completely until you are full of air.
You now hold your breath.


In the last step you exhale, also pausing twice and thus separating exhalation into three parts. With the last part you exhale the complete air from your body.

Benefits of Gati Avarodha Pranayama

Just as so many other Pranayama exercises, this one helps you to control your mind and thoughts, to calm down and relieve stress. It helps you to sort out your feelings, to know what you want.


Physically it helps you to regulate your blood pressure.


If you practice Gati Avarodha Pranayama regularly, you increase the length of Rechaka, Kumbhaka, Puraka, which is inhalation, holding and exhalation.


When exhaling, it additionally can help you to get rid of extra gas that has built up in your stomach.


And of course, you can do it anywhere, on a chair, in the office, in a train, on your couch and even in bed!

Tips and Help

Finding an easy and comfortable posture to sit in is good for all breathing exercises!

Eka Pada Paschimottanasana

Names

Eka Pada Paschimottanasana, Half Hero Forward Bend, One Leg Forward Bend

How to perform Eka Pada Paschimottanasana

Sit in Dandasana with straight legs and a straightened spine. Check which of your nostrils is active. If you are breathing more from your right nostril it means that your right side is activated.


Bend your right knee and place your heel under your buttocks as you would do in Vajrasana. Bring your arms straight up without bending your elbows.

With an exhalation bend forward and grab the toes of your left foot. Place your upper body on your left leg and right thigh. Come up with inhalation.


Repeat this posture from the other side.

Benefits of Eka Pada Paschimottanasana

Eka Pada Paschimottanasana is a beneficial pose to stretch and strengthen the thigh, calves, hamstrings, back and spine. It prevents and heals sciatic pain.


Your strength and the flexibility of the knee joints and ankles is improved by this posture.

You want to reduce fat from the belly? Perfect: if you practice this posture daily you will never have a problem with gaining belly fat and you can even reduce it.


There is also a positive effect on the digestive system and other organs as the bending forward stimulates and massages the organs.


It relaxes the mind and improves concentration due to the increase of blood flow and blood circulation in your upper body and head.

This is why it is also good for diabetes. It regulates the sugar in your blood by this activation of blood circulation.


This yoga pose strengthens the nervous system.

Eka Pada Paschimottanasana works with the solar plexus chakra which is responsible for distributing the energy in your body. You will thus feel energetic, enthusiastic and active.


Eka Pada Paschimottanasana stimulates Prana, Samana and Apana Vayu in the body. Prana Vayu lives in the heart region and moves between heart and navel. It is responsible for breathing, the heart function and the movement of digestive acid.

This posture gives a positive effect to Prana Vayu and its action as well.


Samana Vayu, which is located in the navel region, is responsible for the function and the movement of the abdominal organs like pancreas, liver, kidney, spleen and gall bladder.


Apana Vayu is located between navel and anus and its function is to produce urine and stool and the pressure to get rid of it again. Bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and their functions are also connected to Apana Vayu.

That’s how this posture is beneficial for menstruation irregularity or problems with the menopause. It also stimulates the acupressure points on the buttocks.

Focus Points

Always bend down with exhalation and come up with inhalation. Your focus should be to lay your upper body on your legs and try to keep your upper body as straight as possible.


Keep the foot of the straight leg stretched by pulling your toes in the direction of your body.

Tips and Help

To make this posture even more fun you can do it together with your partner. Just sit face to face to each other and practice together.

You can for example help your partner in bending forward by pulling his arms towards you.

You can place a cushion under your buttocks if you are not comfortable bending forward. You can also put a folded blanket or a cushion under your ankles when they are hurting or they make you feel uncomfortable.


If you cannot put your heel under your buttocks you can also place it next to them as in Virasana.


If you cannot grab your toes, try to reach as far as possible on your calves.

When to Avoid Eka Pada Paschimottanasana

Avoid this posture if you have an ankle or knee injury, torn ligaments or a damaged meniscus.

You should also not do this pose if you are suffering from back pain, slip disc, a displaced sacrum or diarrhea. It is not very good to do this exercise during pregnancy as it pressurizes the womb.


Be careful with doing this posture if you have strong sciatic pain.

Dirgha Pranayama – Full Yogic Breath

Names

Dirgha Pranayama, Dirga Pranayama, Full Yogic Breath, Deep Breathing

How to perform Dirgha Pranayama

You can practice the full yogic breathing in any position that you are in. In fact, you should make an effort to make this way of breathing your usual and constant breathing.

The more often you breathe deeply like this, the better it is for you and your system.

Inhale deeply and fill first your belly, then your lungs with air and finally until the top of your chest, so that your shoulders are widened and lifted up.


Exhale in the same way, from the top down to the lungs and in the end from the belly.

Benefits of Dirgha Pranayama

It is scientifically proved that people who breathe more deeply are less prone to stress-related diseases and illnesses such as the burnout syndrome, hysteria and even stress-caused headaches and migraine.


Deeper breathing simply means that you inhale more oxygen than in your usual, flat breathing. You give your lungs room to expand and do their work properly. They distribute energy through the blood in your whole body. The more oxygen you get at once, the more energy you will feel.


This deep breathing makes you calmer, slows down your heart beat and thus prevents you from hyperactivity. You don’t take stress as easily anymore and even in situations of shock you are able to reduce any harming effect by taking a few deep breaths.


Of course it is a natural help for anybody who has problems with asthma and his breathing channels.


There are so many benefits to breathing deeply that you might as well simply try it out and see for yourself what it does to you!

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Names

Bhujangasana, Sarpasana, Cobra Pose

How to perform Bhujangasana

Lie down on your belly with your body and knees straight and your feet together. Place your hands beside your chest and with inhalation lift your upper body up until even the navel does not touch the floor anymore. Look straight up.


To come out of the pose, slowly lay your body back down on the floor with exhalation.

Benefits of Bhujangasana

Practicing the cobra pose is very good for strengthening the spinal column and the muscles supporting the spine. This is how it is often recommended against backache, in some cases even if you suffer from pain after a slip disc.


The cobra pose also works wonders for your abdomen and abdominal organs. It helps your digestion and thus prevents and also works against constipation. Also if you have the feeling your stomach often bloats, frequent practice of this yoga posture can help you alleviate your discomfort.

This help for your digestion has another effect, too: toxins and excessive salts are removed from the body which prevents them from forming kidney stones. Together with the intake of much water and other exercises, the cobra pose is said to reduce the size of existing kidney stones, too.


Women who have issues with their ovaries or suffer from irregular menstruation cycles and leucorrhea as well as pain during menstruation can get relief through regular practice of Bhujangasana.


The cobra posture also helps your lungs to fully expand and collect a larger amount of oxygen which then helps the heart and blood circulation. The result is that you feel fitter and more energetic. Fatigue is relieved and you can cope with stress more easily.


Energetically Bhujangasana also helps you to feel more alive. It enhances your sexual life. Men will find that regular practice of the cobra posture works against premature ejaculation.


Bhujangasana is an exercise for the whole body as you can see in the many benefits described above. This is why it is popular as a posture enhancing your whole life!

Focus Points

Your legs and feet should remain together and touching each other during the practice of the yoga pose. Your toes should point to the back, so that the soles of your feet are turned upwards. Keep your hands with the palm flat on the floor.


Throughout the full pose, you should keep your shoulders relaxed. Don’t hang the weight of your upper body on your shoulders.

Tips and Help

If you want to bring your buttocks in a nice shape and chose this exercise for it, you can increase its effect by squeezing your buttocks with inhalation and pressing the pelvis down. This tones your muscles even more!


Keep your breathing rhythm: come up with inhalation, do complete yogic breathing while you are in the pose and come down again with exhalation.

When to Avoid Bhujangasana

Pregnant women should avoid practicing Bhujangasana.


If you are suffering from wrist, shoulder and neck pain, from cramps in that area or a sprain of the arm, you should consult your doctor and avoid the exercise until he approved it.

Anantasana

Names

Anantasana, Side-Reclining Leg Lift

The name Anantasana is made of two separate Sanskrit words ‘Anant’ and ‘Asana’. While Asana just means posture or exercise, Anant means endless, never ending and infinite. It can also mean a future event.

How to perform Anantasana

Lay down on your back in Supta Samasthiti. Check which of your nostrils is active and lie on that side with your upper arm on the floor, your elbow bent and your head supported by your hand. Take care not to lean forward or backward but leave your complete body weight on the side you are lying on.
If you are lying on your right side, bend your left knee, grab your left big toe with your left hand and stretch the leg up straight, the sole facing upwards. Now your knees are straight and you pull your foot closer towards your head.
Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute, then slowly come out of it and repeat the posture from the other side.

Benefits of Anantasana

Anantasana is a very good exercise for stretching the muscles of your back and side torso as well as the hamstrings and the muscles of the calves.


Your pelvic floor muscles and hip muscles are toned and your abs are firmed. Additionally you strengthen your armpit muscles and shoulders.


Anantasana increases flexibility in your legs and prevents issues of hernia.
In many cases, this yoga exercise can be good against back pain as well.


By lying on your left side, you stimulate your blood circulation which is beneficial for your heart and the supply of oxygen throughout your body. Through this proper blood circulation, even edema of legs and arms can be healed.


Your digestive system also has a benefit from this pose. You shift undigested food from one side of the intestines to the other. This does not mean however that you should do this yoga posture right after food. Always keep a sufficient time gap in between eating and workout.
If you suffer from light arthritis, Anantasana can help you reduce your pain. Regular practice can prevent further worsening. If you do this pose regularly, your risk of sciatica is minimalized as well.


Through the movement of your leg, the yoga pose is good for your bladder and for women beneficial for the ovaries while men have benefits for their prostate glands. The whole region is working and women experience that menstrual disorders are reduced.
Apart from the physical benefits already described, Anantasana also reduces mental stress and strain as well as its results. Stress related disorders such as fatigue can be prevented and also cured with a workout practice that includes this yoga exercise.
The first chakra is stimulated with this exercise and you thus activate the root energy.
Like nearly all balancing poses, kids especially enjoy this yoga exercise.


You can even do this yoga pose in bed. You may have problems if you have a very soft mattress but the stretching will work anyway!

Tips and Help

As a beginner it can be difficult to find your balance. As a little help, you can start this practice by doing the exercise with your back to the wall which makes it impossible to fall backwards.
Additionally you can keep your lower foot flexed. There is no need to stretch the toes far out. That would move the complete leg muscle and make you fall either forwards or backwards.
If it is difficult for you to grab your toes with your hands, use a piece of cloth, place it over the sole of your foot and grab it to pull.

When to avoid Anantasana

If you have any hip or neck pain, please consult with your doctor and Yoga teacher whether you can do this exercise.

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose

How to perform Ananda Balasana

Lay down on your back in Sputa Samasthiti and inhale deeply. With exhalation raise your legs up straight, if possible with your knees together. Hold your legs straight up and inhale again.
With the next exhalation you bend your knees towards your belly and grab your big toes. The soles of your feet keep on pointing upwards towards the ceiling.
Open your knees wider apart than the width of your upper body and bring them toward your armpits. Keep your feet just above your knees and feel the stretch in your groins, hips and inner spine.
After holding a steady posture for a while, you should leave the seriousness and become like a baby to really enjoy this pose and get all benefit of it. Start moving your legs, pulling them towards you, rolling your back and enjoy being in the posture without caring too much where your legs and arms go.

Benefits of Ananda Balasana

Ananda Balasana is a very good pose for relieving stress and fatigue. You should feel like a baby when you are in the pose, so you experience the joy and happiness of lying in this position. This calms the brain and relaxes mind and body which can be good against depression. In this way this yoga pose is easy and useful for beginners but also efficient for advanced practitioners.
It is not only relaxing, though, but also strengthens your legs, thighs and even your hip muscles. It stretches your groins and makes the hips flexible.

Focus Points

While performing this Ananda Balasana you should do every effort to feel like a baby to get the complete benefit of the pose.

Tips and Help

If you cannot reach up to your toes, you can use a piece of cloth or a scarf to do the same action.

When to avoid Ananda Balasana

If you suffer from injuries of the neck, spine or knees, you should not perform this yoga pose.
Pregnant women should also avoid this yoga exercise.
Elderly people with health issues should consult their doctor before performing this exercise.