Using a blanket for more than bedding

Besides the obvious use of keeping you warm during relaxation, blankets can prop your hips in sitting postures, your head and neck in lying postures, and your waist in prone back bends like the locust posture. You also can use blankets as protective padding under your knees when kneeling. The firmness of the blanket is important. You want something under your knees or neck that doesn't sink or collapse, as does a padded blanket or comforter. Always use a firm, flat blanket and be sure to fold...

Reverse triangle posture

Stand in the mountain posture (covered in Chapter 7) and step out to the right about 3 to 3 2 feet (or the length of one leg) with the right foot as you exhale. 2. As you inhale, raise your arms out to the sides parallel to the line of your shoulders (and the floor) so that your shoulders form a T with your torso as shown in Figure 14-8a. 3. As you exhale, bend forward from the hips and then place your right hand on the floor near the inside of your left foot. 4. Raise your left arm toward the...

Health Healing and Yoga

The source of your health and happiness lies within you. Outside agents like physicians, therapists, or remedies can help you through major crises, but you yourself are primarily responsible for your own health and happiness. The following sections show you how Yoga helps you mobilize the inner strength to live responsibly and wisely. What is health Most people answer this question by saying that health is the opposite of illness, but health is more than the absence of disease it's a positive...

Latin America

Take a look at these Latin American Yoga havens Indra Devi Foundation Founded by David Lifar, this Argentine program is the largest Hatha Yoga center in South America, with over 2,000 students per week in three locations. It has a newsletter and teacher training programs. Find more at Indra Devi Foundation, Azuenaga 762, Buenos Aires, Argentina 1029 e-mail contactenos fundacion-indra-devi. org, Web site fundacion-indra-devi.org . Latin American Union of Yoga This union, founded in 1985,...

Dressing for Success and Other Yoga Practicing Considerations

After you choose a class you think can work for you, you may be nervous about actually taking the plunge and heading to your first session. The following sections aim to answer your questions about what to wear and take and how to stay safe (and in the good graces of your classmates) as you begin your group Yoga journey. Yoga practitioners wear a wide variety of exercise clothing. Practically speaking, what people wear depends on the difficulty level of the class and the temperature of the...

Vowing to do no harm

The practice of nonharming comes or should come into play hundreds of times a day. The more sensitive you become toward the effect you have on others, the more you're called to live with moral mindfulness. How do you practice the virtue of nonharming in your life You may think of yourself as a fairly harmless individual because you don't physically or verbally abuse anyone, but have you ever started or listened to gossip And what about feeling negatively toward an annoying client or customer or...

Folded side bend

The Sanskrit word bala (pronounced bah-lah) means child. This practice was inspired by a baby's folded position in the womb. The benefits of this side bend, which is a variation of balasana, the child's posture (covered in Chapter 15), are the same as for the seated side bend. The following steps show you how it works 1. Sit on your heels with your toes pointing back and fold forward by laying your abdomen on your thighs and your head on the floor. Extend your arms forward with yourpalms on the...

Breathing in four directions

You can move your body in four natural directions Extension Bending backward Lateral flexion Bending sideways Rotation Twisting your body Normally, when people move they tend to hold or strain their breath. In Yoga, you simply follow the natural flow of the breath. As a rule, adopt this pattern Inhale when moving into back bends (as shown in Figure 5-4a). Exhale when moving into forward bends (see Figure 5-4b). Exhale when moving into side bends (see Figure 5-4c). Exhale when moving into twists...

The tree posture Vrikshasana

The Sanskrit word vriksha (pronounced vrik-shah) means tree. The tree posture improves overall balance, stability, and poise. It strengthens your legs, arms, and shoulders, and opens your hips and groin. Like the other one-legged balancing poses, it also enhances focus and concentration and produces a calming effect on your body and mind. Here's how it works 1. Stand in the mountain posture (covered in Chapter 7). 2. As you exhale, bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot,...

Exhaling soundly

The use of sound exercise strengthens and tones the abdomen and its internal organs in addition to strengthening the muscles of the diaphragm. 1. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your spine comfortably upright. If you find yourself slumping, sit on a folded blanket or check out the Yoga props in Chapter 19. 2. Place the palm of your right hand on your navel so that you can feel your belly contracting as you exhale. 3. Take a deep inhalation through your nose and, as you exhale, make the...

Approaching mindfulness in deep sleep

For the serious Yoga practitioner, even deep sleep isn't a no-man's land. On the contrary, dreamless sleep is a great opportunity for breaking into higher levels of consciousness. After you're able to retain mindful awareness during the dream state, you can extend your awareness to those periods where the mind is devoid of contents. The great Yoga masters are continuously aware throughout the day and the night. They're never unconscious, because they have realized the spirit or Self, which is...

Europe

The following list gives you some of the top European Yoga organizations The British Wheel of Yoga Founded in 1965, this program has around 4,000 Yoga teachers as members and publishes Spectrum magazine (see Peeking into Periodicals later in this appendix). Check it out at The British Wheel of Yoga, 25 Jermyn Street, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 7RU phone 01529-306851, fax 01529-303233 e-mail office bwy.org. uk, Web site www.bwy.org.uk . Life Foundation This large, full-service Yoga and...

Understanding yourself

Based on self-observation, self-understanding involves grasping the deeper reasons for your habit patterns. Ultimately, self-understanding is the realization that all your thoughts and behaviors revolve around the ego, an artificial psychological pole. Your ego allows you to identify yourself in a very specific way. For example I'm Frank, a 35-year-old, Caucasian male and a United States citizen. I'm 5 foot 11 inches tall, have an athletic build, weigh 165 pounds, and have blue eyes and brown...

About the Authors

Georg Feuerstein, PhD, has been studying and practicing Yoga since his early teens and is a practitioner of Buddhist Yoga. He is internationally respected for his contribution to Yoga research and the history of consciousness and has been featured in many national magazines both in the United States and abroad. He has authored over 40 books, including The Yoga Tradition, The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, and Yoga Morality, which have been translated into eight languages. Since his retirement...

Locust I Shalabhasana

The locust posture strengthens the entire torso including the lower back and the neck. In addition, it strengthens the buttocks and the legs and improves digestion and elimination. To clench or not to clench That is the question An ongoing controversy in the Yoga world is Should the buttocks be firm or soft in the cobra The traditional instruction is to firm the buttocks. However, the work of New Zealand-born physiotherapist Robin McKenzie has revolutionized back care and ideas about back...

Table of Contents

1 About This Conventions Used in This What You're Not to Foolish How This Book Is Part I Off to a Good Start with Part II Postures for Health Maintenance and Restoration 4 Part III Creative Part IV Yoga as a Part V The Part of Icons Used in This Where to Go from Part I Off to a Good Start with Yoga 7 Chapter 1 Yoga 101 What You Need to Know 9 Understanding the True Character of Finding Finding yourself Are you a yogi (or Considering Your Options The Eight Main Branches of Yoga 12 Bhakti Yoga...

Open your eyes stretch lazily and get up slowly

Practice 10 to 30 minutes the longer the duration, the better. But watch out Relaxing for too long can make you drowsy. The corpse is the most popular of all Yoga postures. Allowing relaxation to end on its own is best your body knows when it has benefited sufficiently and naturally brings you out of relaxation. However, if you have only a limited time for the exercise, set your mental clock to 15, 20, or however many minutes after closing your eyes as part of your intention. If you need to...

Repeat Steps and with a nice slow rhythm

Remember, open or expand as you inhale, fold or contract as you exhale. After you become comfortable with this exercise, combine it with our recommended breathing techniques from earlier in this chapter focus breathing (which we cover in Starting out with Focus Breathing) or any of the techniques in Appreciating the complete yogic breath (belly breathing, belly-to-chest breathing, or chest-to-belly breathing). You can decide which technique you prefer as you begin combining breathing with...

Taking Care of the Abdomen Your Business Center

The abdomen is an amazing enterprise, with its complex food-processing plant (the stomach), several subsidiary operations (liver, spleen, kidneys, and so on), and a 25-foot-long sewer system (the intestines). Poor diets and eating habits lead to annoying and sometimes deadly serious digestive and elimination problems, including constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer. Regular Yoga practice can help you take care of your abdominal organs so they can function well and...

Turning your face toward a Yoga morning

For thousands of years, Yoga practitioners have begun the day at sunrise, a time considered to be favorable and especially potent for meditation, prayer, and tapping into your highest potential. Called brahma-muhurta in Sanskrit (brah-mah moo-hoor-tah, which means hour of brahman, with brahman being the ultimate Reality), this time sets the right tone for the entire day. Sunrise isn't only a quiet, peaceful time but also a time charged with symbolic significance for Yoga practitioners....

Bringing balance with compensation postures

Compensation is part of bringing you back into balance, which is a key concept in Yoga. Use compensation postures to unwind or bring your body back into neutral, especially after strenuous postures. Here are some basic guidelines for using compensation postures Use one or two simple compensation postures to neutralize tension you feel in any area of the body after a Yoga posture or sequence. Always use the conscious breathing we describe in Chapter 5. Perform compensating postures that are...

Prime of Life Yoga Routine Level II

After you master the level I sequence described in the preceding section, enjoy the challenge of this section's level II sequence. It's a little longer and more physically demanding, and like the other routine, brings balance by working each side of the body separately. Plan to spend approximately 45 minutes to complete this sequence, which is broken into two parts standing postures and postures on the floor. For detailed information on the various postures in this section or their variations,...

Volcano Mahamudra

Ancient Hatha Yoga texts give high praise to the volcano posture. It strengthens the back, stretches the legs, and opens the hips and chest. This posture is unique in that has qualities of both a forward bend and a back bend. When used with special locks (bandhas) that contain and channel energy in the torso, this technique has both cleansing and healing effects. 1. Sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, bend your left knee and bring your left foot toward your right...

Magic triangles

The following relaxation technique utilizes your power of imagination. If you can picture things easily in your mind, you may find the exercise enjoyable and refreshing. For this exercise, you need a chair and a blanket (if necessary). Allow five minutes. 1. Sit up tall in a chair, with your feet on the floor and comfortably apart and your hands resting on top of your knees as shown in Figure 4-3. If your feet aren't comfortably touching the floor, fold up the blanket and place it under your...

Fit for life and so much more

Perhaps the most important benefit Yoga can offer you as a teen is the opportunity to develop a lifelong friendship with your body. When you develop a Yoga practice, first under the guidance of a skilled and nurturing teacher and then later on your own, you tune in to your body, pay attention to what's is happening, and respond appropriately not unlike the good energy you put into your friendships with your best buddies. A regular Yoga practice can help you develop the focus, concentration, and...

The Swiss army knife

This posture, a variation of the classic jathara parivritti, tones the abdominal organs and intestines and stretches the lower back and hips. Jathara parivritti (pronounced jat-hah-rah pah-ree-vree-tee) means belly twisting. Just follow these steps 1. Lie flat on the floor with your legs straight down and extend your arms out from your sides like a T (in line with the top of your shoulders) with your palms up. 2. Bend your right knee and draw your thigh into your abdomen. 3. As you exhale,...

Learn to

* Design and follow your own personal Yoga program * Choose specialized instruction by age from children to teens to seniors * Integrate the health benefits of Yoga into a complete wellness and exercise program * Practice Yoga during pregnancy Author of more than 40 books, including The Yoga Tradition Internationally renowned Yoga teacher, author, and Yoga therapy pioneer Get More and Do More at Dummies.com To access the Cheat Sheet created specifically for this book, go to www.dummies.com...

Half shoulder stand at the Wall

This posture is a variation of viparita karani see Half shoulder stand Viparita karani later in this section and is perhaps the easiest way to pick up the half shoulder stand in a step-by-step fashion. The wall provides support as you build experience with the shoulder stand exercises. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, your toes just touching the base of a sturdy wall, and your arms extended along the sides of your torso with your palms down. 2. Place your...

Seated karate kid Variation

Figure 18-6 illustrates this posture. Executing it is easy 1. Start in the seated mountain posture and raise your arms forward and up alongside of your ears as you inhale. 2. As you exhale, bend your right knee and raise it upward toward your chest to a comfortable level. 3. Take another breath and then, as you exhale, lower your right knee and your arms back to the seated mountain posture. 4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 with both arms and your left knee, alternating both of your knees slowly as...

The headturner

Sequences like the head-turner combine breath and movement in parts of the upper body to stretch, strengthen, and heal your entire wingspan. This breath and movement sequence for the upper back and neck is great for minor stiff necks. 1. Stand tall but relaxed with your feet at hip width. 2. Hang your arms at your sides, palms turned back. 3. As you inhale, raise your right arm forward and up overhead as you turn your head to the left as Figure 15-8 illustrates. 4. As you exhale, bring your arm...

Relax again and conclude by using the sound sa five times

After you complete the full cycle, just sit quietly for a few minutes and notice how relaxed you feel. True yogic breathing also includes the throat sound, which forms part of the traditional practice of ujjayi pronounced ooh-jah-yee , or victorious breath control. This more advanced technique is often mistakenly identified as sound breathing. The ujjayi sound is produced with the mouth closed and by breathing through the nose. By slightly constricting the throat during inhalation and...

Afternoon delight

When your energies flag in the afternoon, try the following exercise, which is a great stress buster. You can practice it at home or in a quiet place at the office. Just make sure that you can't be interrupted. For this exercise, you need a sturdy chair, one or two blankets, and a towel or an eye bag see Chapter 19 for more on this additional yoga resource . Allow five to ten minutes. 1. Lie on your back and put your feet up on the chair, which should face you see Figure 4-2 . Make sure that...

Prime of Life Yoga routine Level I

The routine described and illustrated in this section is a nice general-conditioning routine for midlifers and even younger folks who want to ease back into physical activity. This user-friendly sequence strings together a series of safe postures that work each side of the body separately, helping to achieve greater balance. You can find detailed instructions for each of these various poses or their variations in Chapters 4, 7, 8, and 15. Choose a breathing technique from Chapter 5. Hold each...

Cobra I Sphinx

Note We recommend that you use either this posture or the cobra posture in the preceding section, not both. Cobra I is less strenuous than cobra II, so go with cobra I if you aren't sure. If the cobra postures aggravate your lower back, separate your legs wider than your hips and turn your heels out with your toes inward. Also, if you move your hands further forward, these postures are less difficult. 1. Lie on your abdomen with your legs at hip width and the tops of the feet on the floor. 2....

Legs up on the Watt

Legs up on the wall, which is a variation of urdhva prasarita padasana, improves circulation to the legs, hips, and lower back and has a calming effect on the nervous system. It also helps alleviate symptoms of PMS in women and prostatitis in men. Try it for yourself by following these steps 1. Sit sideways with your right side as close to the wall as possible, with both legs extended forward as Figure 10-2a illustrates. 2. As you exhale, swing both legs up on the wall and lie flat on your...

Making Inroads into the Eightfold Path with Moral Discipline

The eightfold path of Yoga, as we outline it in Chapter 1, is a useful model for the stages of the yogic process. In the following sections, we explain the first limb of the eightfold path in more detail because along with the second limb, it gives you the essential moral foundation for practicing Yoga successfully. We start with the five practices of moral discipline yama , which Yoga insists that you must practice under all circumstances. They're the same moral virtues that you find in all...

Turning to inversion props

We purposely omitted the headstand and the full shoulder stand from this book because we feel that these postures require the guidance of a competent Yoga teacher. Because Western-world necks have become so weak and vulnerable, many physicians and a large number of chiropractors, orthopedists, and osteopaths aren't in favor of inverted Yoga postures such as the headstand, the full shoulder stand, and the plow because they can compress the neck. Because the benefits of inversion and reversing...

Shoulder rolls

Shoulder rolls are used in many types of exercise routines but when done in Yoga, you move slowly and with awareness, coordinating with the breath. 1. Stand tall but relaxed with your feet at hip width. 2. Hang your arms at your sides with your palms turned back. 3. As you inhale, roll your shoulders up and back as shown in Figure 15-9. As you exhale, drop your shoulders down. 4. Repeat Step 3 six to eight times, reversing the direction of the rolls. Move slowly in the shoulder rolls,...

Eyeing the many applications of eye bags

Eye bags, also called eye pillows, are small bags filled with light materials usually plastic pellets that yogis and yoginis use for various relaxation techniques. Although an eye bag may seem self-explanatory, there's actually more to eye bags than meets the, well, eye. They of course block light and other visual stimuli, which helps quiet the brain they also put gentle pressure on your eyes, which slows your heart rate. You can just cover your eyes with a towel, but the effect isn't quite the...

Sounding Off Yogic Breathing

Sound, which is a form of vibration, is one of the means that Yoga employs to harmonize the vibration of your body and mind. In fact, the repetition of special sounds is one of the older and more potent techniques of Yoga. Here, we show you how to try this technique in conjunction with conscious breathing. A good way to start is to use the soft-sounding syllables ah, ma, and sa. We're not asking you to chant, although chanting can be a great and useful experience as well. Sound makes your...

Being a Committed Yogi or Yogini

The traditional practice time for Yoga is 24 hours a day, as we discuss in Chapter 20. But even full-fledged yogis and yoginis don't perform postures and other similar exercises for more than a few hours daily. Of course, some of them don't practice any physical exercises at all but pursue meditation exclusively. Some people can carve out a regular Yoga practice time in their daily schedules. Many others, however, find this commitment completely impractical. Yet you can still benefit by...

Standing Tall

Standing as an art Singing praises of standing postures Practicing standing postures tanding upright is a uniquely human trait, and Yoga is a uniquely human practice. In this chapter, we discuss standing from the Yoga perspective, with an emphasis on the difference between just standing and the more quintessential version of standing. The simple act of standing upright brings your spine, muscles, tendons, and ligaments into play. Ordinarily, these parts do their assigned tasks quite...

Relaxed Like a Noodle The Fine Art of Letting Go of Stress

Understanding and dealing with stress Relaxing the body through mental and physical exercises ife in general not merely modern life is inherently stressful. Even an inanimate object such as a rock can experience an element of stress. Not all stress is bad for you, however. The question is whether that stress is helping you or killing you. Psychologists distinguish between distress and eustress good stress . Yoga can help you minimize distress and maximize good, life-enhancing stress. For...

Warrior II Vira bhadrasana II

Like the warrior I posture we cover in the preceding section, warrior II also strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms. It focuses more on your hips and groin and increases strength and stamina it also improves balance. Use the following steps as your guide. 1. Stand in the mountain posture exhale, and step out to the right about 3 to 3 2 feet or the length of one leg with your right foot. 2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot 45 degrees. An imaginary line drawn from...

Kneehugger

Knee Hugger Yoga

Knee-hugger is another of the yummy poses. These steps and Figure 17-13 show you how to help your child do it. You can find the adult version in Chapter 14 though there it's called knees-to-chest . For an added benefit have your child rock his knees from side to side while he's hugging them it gently massages the back. 1. Lie on your back and then bend and hug in your knees. 2. Just relax and think good thoughts.

Seated forward bend

Seated Forward Bend Exercise

These steps help you achieve this bend illustrated in Figure 18-11 . 1. Start in the seated mountain posture. 2. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips and slide your hands forward and down your legs. 3. Let your head and arms hang down and relax in the folded position for 4 to 6 breaths. 4. For a nice ending, use the seated mountain posture. Close your eyes and choose focus breathing Chapter 5 or a relaxation technique Chapter 4 for two to five minutes.

Scorpion

Cakravakasana

The scorpion posture improves overall balance and stability. This posture, which is a variation of cakravakasana, strengthens your shoulders, improves the flexibility of your hips, legs, and shoulders, and enhances focus and concentration. The following steps walk you through the process 1. While on your hands and knees, position your hands directly under your shoulders with your palms down, fingers spread on the floor, and your knees directly under your hips. Straighten your arms, but don't...

Corpse posture with bent legs Shavasana variation

Relaxation and breathing are important ingredients for a healthy back. The corpse posture is a classic position to start the process. If your back feels uncomfortable, place a pillow or blanket roll under your knees. If your head tilts back, place a folded blanket or small pillow under your head. 1. Lie flat on your back with your arms relaxed along the sides of your torso and your palms up. 2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor at hip width. 3. Close your eyes and relax see...

Inversion optional

Powerful Postures

Indian Yoga teachers often teach inverted postures toward the beginning or at the end of a class. For Westerners, we prefer to introduce inverted postures closer to the middle of the routine, when they've properly prepared their backs and necks and have plenty of time for adequate compensation. Inverted postures like those shown in Figure 15-20 are optional, and we recommend that beginners avoid the half shoulder stand and the half shoulder stand at the wall until they've practiced Yoga for six...

Skipping Class

Traditionally, Yoga is passed down from teacher to student. However, a few accomplished yogis and yoginis are self-taught. These independent spirits set a precedent for those who enjoy exploring new territory on their own. If you live in an isolated area and don't have easy access to a Yoga instructor or class, don't be disheartened. You still have several choices that can help you begin your yogic journey and in the appendix we provide you with a fairly extensive list of resources . Here's an...

Tree posture

Work your child through tree posture by using the following instructions, and check out Figure 17-6 for an illustration. Flip to Chapter 7 for more information on the adult version. 1. Start in the mountain posture, standing tall and still. 2. Bend one of your legs and place the bottom of that foot up high on the inside of the other thigh. 3. Bring your hands together up high above your head and imagine you're a tree, making the sound of the wind blowing through your leaves shhhhhhhh. 4. Now...

Busting the perfect posture myth

Some modern schools of Hatha Yoga claim that they teach perfect postures that you can slip into as easily as a tailor-made suit. But how can the same posture be perfect for both a 15-year-old athlete and a 60-year-old retiree Besides, these schools disagree among themselves about what constitutes a perfect posture. So, to spell it out, the perfect posture is a perfect myth. As the great Yoga master Patanjali explained nearly 2,000 years ago, posture has only two requirements A posture should be...

Enjoying a Peaceful Yoga Practice

As you travel through yogic postures, you begin to build awareness of the communications taking place between your body and mind. Do you feel peacefully removed from the raging storm of life around you, comfortable and confident with your strength, motion, and steadiness Or are you painfully noting the slow passage of time, sensing a physical awkwardness or strain in your movements Listen to your own rhythms and acknowledge their importance to help make your Yoga experience an expression of...

Authors Acknowledgments

From Georg I would like to cordially thank Larry for graciously shouldering the main burden of preparing this new edition for the press. My thanks also go to the For Dummies staff for their essential behind-the-scenes work done. From Larry Unless you are truly gifted like my coauthor Georg, writing a book takes a village, and I have many people to thank in mine. Merry of MerryMedia first encouraged me to do this revision. Sri TKV Desikachar and his family have inspired my Yoga path since 1980....

Seated forward bend Variation

Seated Forward Bend Variations

A twist is almost always followed by a forward bend to rebalance the spine and hips, so here's one to counter the twist in the preceding section. 1. Start in the seated chair posture turned sideways with the chair back on either your left or right. 2. As you exhale, bend forward from the hips and slide your hands down your legs as you hang your head, chest, and arms comfortably as shown in Figure 22-26. 3. Stay in Step 2 for six to eight breaths.

Develop Good Habits from the Beginning

Bad habits die hard, so cultivate good Yoga habits from the outset. If possible, take two or three lessons from a qualified Yoga teacher, either in a group class or privately. At least read our book and other practical Yoga books carefully before trying out the postures and breathing exercises. Wrong practice can do damage Protect yourself by proceeding slowly and following the instructions step by step. Err on the cautious side. If in doubt, always consult a teacher or knowledgeable...

Observing chastity in thought and deed

Chastity brahmacarya, pronounced brah-mah-chahr-yah , which is a highly valued virtue in all traditional societies, means abstention from inappropriate sexual behavior. According to Yoga, only adults who are in a committed marriage or partnership should be sexually active all others should practice sexual abstinence. For many Westerners, this standard is very difficult. Yogically speaking, you must extend the ideal of chastity to action, speech, and even thought. We leave it up to you to...

Forward bends

Kneeling Forward Bend Yoga

The seated forward bends normally come toward the end of an exercise program because they have a calming effect. Of all the postures described in this book, the seated extended-leg forward bends divide the sexes the most. Because of their higher muscle density, especially in the hip and groin area, men are usually tighter in the hamstrings. Preparation of the hamstrings is particularly important for them in these postures. If you have a hard time with this category, bend your knees more and, if...

Gaining focus

Concentration and meditation are special moments in the same mindfulness that you're asked to bring to every aspect of your life. The Sanskrit word for concentration is dharana, which means holding. You hold your attention by focusing on a specific bodily process such as breathing , a thought, an image, or a sound as we discuss in Practicing Meditation later in the chapter . Through concentration, you seek to become concentric, or properly centered and harmonious with yourself. When you're out...

The Mechanics of Yogic Breathing

Most people are either shallow chest breathers or shallow belly breathers. Yogic breathing incorporates a complete breath that expands both the chest and the abdomen on inhalation either from the chest down or the abdomen up. Both are valid techniques. Figures 5-2 and 5-3 later in the chapter show you each of these techniques. Yogic breathing involves breathing much more deeply than usual, which in turn brings more oxygen into your system. Don't be surprised if you feel a ir ll little...

Half standing forward bend Ardha uttanasana

Half Forward Bend Ardha Uttanasana

The Sanskrit word ardha pronounced ahrd-ha means half. The half standing forward bend strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms and improves stamina. Here's how you do it 1. Start in the mountain posture and as you inhale, raise your arms forward and then up overhead as in the standing forward bend see the preceding section . 2. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips. Soften your knees and hang your arms. 3. Bend your knees, and as you inhale, raise your torso and arms up from the...

Approaching Prime of Life Yoga with the Right Mindset

As you age, mobility is the new flexibility. So although you may have been able to do the most acrobatic postures in your youth, the important goal now is to maintain the mobility to remain fit and active. In the Prime of Life approach to Yoga postures, spinal freedom and movement take precedence over form. Adjustments to the posture, such as bending the knees a lot if necessary, encourage movement of the spine. The attitude you bring to your practice is critical. The right attitude on the mat...

The perfect posture Siddhasana

The Sanskrit word siddha pronounced sidd-hah means both perfect and adept. In Yoga, an adept isn't just a skillful practitioner but an accomplished master who has attained inner freedom. SB t Many Yoga masters in bygone eras preferred this posture and used it often in place of the lotus posture. We don't cover either the half lotus or the full lotus position in this book because they're suitable only for more experienced students. This hand position seals off life energy called prana. This hand...

Standing spreadlegged forward bend Prasarita pada uttanasana

Standing Spread Legged Forward Bend

This modified forward bend improves circulation in the head and lengthens the spine, hamstrings, and adductor muscles on the inside of the thighs. Just hang in this posture shown in Figure 16-7 for 6 to 8 breaths. You can also try this standing posture with your hips at a wall or door. Standing spread-legged forward bend. Standing spread-legged forward bend.

Seated relaxation

Seated Relaxation Postures

All of the concentration, breath, and movement leads to this moment. You may also replace this breathing exercise with any of the relaxation techniques in Chapter 4. 1. Start in the seated chair posture with your eyes closed as in Figure 22-28. 2. Use belly breathing see Chapter 5 and gradually increase the length of your exhalation until you reach your comfortable maximum. 3. Take 20 to 30 belly breaths at your comfortable maximum and then gradually come back to your normal resting breath.

Arching with the suck em up posture

The suck 'em up posture strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles and the internal organs. The posture is especially beneficial for relieving constipation. 1. Start on your hands and knees with your hands just below your shoulders and your knees at hip width. 2. Inhale deeply through your nose. 3. Exhale through your mouth and hump your back like a camel as you bring your chin down. When you have fully exhaled, don't immediately inhale hold your breath where it is and then suck your belly up...

Cultivating the Right Attitude

Attitudes are enduring tendencies in your mind that show themselves in your behavior as well as your speech. Yoga encourages you to examine all your basic attitudes toward life to discover which ones are dysfunctional so that you can replace them with more appropriate ones. The traditional Sanskrit texts of Hatha Yoga state that 8.4 million postures exist, which correspond to as many species of living creatures. Of these, it's said, only 84 are useful to humans, and 32 are especially important....

Dynamic bridge Dvipada pitham

Dvipada Pitham

The gentle action of the bridge compensates the abs and relaxes the back for the hamstring stretch in the following section. Head to Chapter 15 for more on sequencing and compensation. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor at hip width. 2. Place your arms at your sides with your palms down. 3. As you inhale, raise your hips to a comfortable height as demonstrated in Figure 22-6. 4. As you exhale, return your hips to the floor. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 six to eight...

Strengthening with yogi sitbacks

Yogi sit-backs strengthen both the lower and upper abdomen. This posture is a variation of navasana. The Sanskrit word nava, pronounced nah-vah, means boat. 1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor at hip width. 2. Place your hands on the floor, palms down, near your hips. 3. Bring your chin down and round your back in a C curve like in Figure 9-3a. 4. As you inhale, roll slowly onto the back of your pelvis, dragging your hands along on the floor as shown in Figure...

The karate kid

Karate Kid Pose Yoga

The karate kid improves overall balance and stability. It strengthens the legs, arms, and shoulders and opens the hips. As with the other one-legged balancing postures, the karate kid enhances focus and concentration. Just follow these steps 1. Stand in the mountain posture, which we describe in Chapter 7. 2. As you inhale, raise your arms out to the sides parallel to the line of your shoulders and the floor so that they form a T with your torso. 3. To steady yourself, focus on a spot on the...

Gaining a Strong Backbone And Some Insight

Without the spinal column, you'd never experience back pain but then again, you couldn't walk upright either The backbone enables you to bend forward, backward, and sideways, and it also allows you to twist. You perform all these motions every day, but you may do them unconsciously and without adequate muscular support. Yoga uses the natural movements of the spine to train the various muscles supporting it, which contributes to a healthy back and prevent back pain. Although the spinal column's...

Kneestochest posture Apanasana

Chakravakasana

One of the rules of sequencing which we cover in Chapter 15 is to always follow a twist with some kind of forward bend. Knees-to-chest is a classic forward bend to use when the posture preceding it is a floor twist, as in this back routine. 1. Lie on your back and bend your knees in toward your chest. 2. Hold your shins just below your knees see Figure 22-18a . 3. As you exhale, draw your knees inward, closer to your chest as demonstrated in Figure 22-18b. 4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 three to four...

Rock the baby

Rock The Baby Yoga

This series prepares you for advanced sitting postures and forward bends. 1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Press your hands on the floor behind you for support 3. Bend your right knee and place your right foot just above your left knee with your right ankle to the outside of the left knee see Figure 15-11a . 4. Stabilize your right foot with your left hand and your right knee with your right hand swing your right knee up and down 6 to 8 times by gently pressing...

Off to a Good Start with Yoga

The 5th Wave Rich Tennant Yoga

Okay, you've got -the breathing dovm, but wouldn't you be more comfortable in a different -workout suit oga is very comprehensive and includes a great variety of approaches. Before you go off hiking in the countryside, you need to take a quick look at the map or risk getting lost. Likewise, before you start experimenting with Yoga, you want to know what it is and how it works. That's how you can ensure that your practice of Yoga is both enjoyable and safe. In this first part, we give you a road...

Balancing postures optional

Figure Various Poses

Balancing postures are optional and depend on your time and stamina. They're often the most athletic postures and require overall coordination. Balancing postures are very rewarding because you can see your progress immediately. They fit nicely after the standing postures because at this point in your routine, you're fully warmed up. All our recommended balancing postures are either standing or kneeling, which means they fit smoothly into the sequence. Choose one balancing posture from Chapter...

Trying yogi situps

Yogi sit-ups strengthen the abdomen, especially the upper abdomen, the adductors insides of your legs , the neck, and the shoulders. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor at hip width. 2. Turn your toes in pigeon-toed and bring your inner knees together. 3. Spread your palms on the back of your head with your fingers interlocked and keep your elbows wide. 4. As you exhale, press your knees firmly, tilt the front of your pelvis toward your navel, and with your hips...

Preparation for forward bends

Preparation is particularly critical for extended leg forward bends. Stretching the hamstrings or the hips just before doing a seated forward bend refer to Chapter 11 not only improves the posture but is also safer for your back. Use the hamstring stretch or the double leg stretch for a 30-minute routine. see Figure 15-4 . For a longer routine, use both and or the rock the baby sequence see Figure 15-11 . Compensating for back bends is an important part of your Yoga program. Compensating for...

Seated triangle posture

Refer to Figure 18-15 for a visual of this posture and then follow these steps 1. Start in the seated mountain posture and, as you inhale, raise your right arm out and up from the right side with your palm rotated inward toward your head. 2. As you exhale, lean your right arm, head, and torso to the left as you drop your left arm down. Keep your hips on the seat of the chair. 3. Hold Step 2 for 4 to 6 breaths and then repeat Steps 1 through 3 on the opposite side with the left arm .

Floor Routine

Back Problems From Lifting

Some people call this routine the Lifetime Sequence because getting into wide-legged seated forward bend postures takes a lifetime if you aren't naturally flexible in the hips. The beauty of Yoga is that if you don't achieve your goal in this lifetime, you can get there in the next. Before you begin, here are some tips to keep in mind Choose focus or chest-to-belly breathing from Chapter 5. Stay in each posture including each time you raise your arms for 6 to 8 breaths. Do the whole sequence...

Extended legs supine twist Jathara parivritti

If you enjoy practicing the Swiss army knife see the preceding section , you're likely to enjoy this slightly more demanding exercise. This variation of jathara parivritti gives you the same benefits as the Swiss army knife but creates an even more pronounced stretch of the lower back and hips. And, of course, stretching is good for your muscles and your spine. The following steps show you how it works 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor at hip width and extend your...

Dynamic bridge Dvipada pitha

You can use this exercise for warm-up and compensation and as a main posture. The Sanskrit term dvipada means two-footed and pitha means seat, which is a synonym for asana. The pronunciation is dvee-pah-dah peet-hah. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor at hip width, and your arms at your sides with palms turned down see Figure 15-5a . 2. As you inhale, raise your hips to a comfortable height see Figure 15-5b . 3. As you exhale, return your hips to the floor. 4....

Pushdowns I Urdhva prasrta padasana I

Pushdowns Abs Yoga

Note We recommend that you start with this posture and replace it with push-downs II in the following section when you're ready to advance. The abdomen is considered the front of your back see Chapter 9 . Keep this key area strong and toned if you want to prevent back problems. The pushdowns are a great way to get that party started because they strengthen your abs without involving your neck and improve your core strength. 1. Lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor...

Half warrior Ardha virabhadrasana variation

Warrior Variation

This posture stretches your main hip flexors the iliopsoas , one of the key muscle groups for maintaining a healthy lower back. 1. Start standing on your knees at hip width and then take a big step forward with the right foot, keeping your left knee on the ground square your hips forward and place your hands on your right thigh, fingers forward just above your knee as shown in Figure 22-10a. 2. As you exhale, sink your hips forward and down as Figure 22-10b demonstrates. Be sure to keep...

Bentleg supine twist Variation Jathara parVritti Variation II

Supine Twist

A good back routine often includes both an upper and a lower back twist. The bent-leg supine twist variation is appropriate here because it's easy to execute. We offer you a number of other effective twists in Chapter 12. If you're having a disc-related problem, be very careful of twists. If you have any negative symptoms, such as pain or numbness, leave the twist out and speak to your physician before adding it back to your program. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the...

Cooking Up a Creative Yoga Routine with the Classic Formula

When you create your own Yoga program with our classic formula, you Determine how long you want the routine to be Select the main postures from the range of postures covered in Chapters 6 through 13 or, of course, from any source you consider reliable Decide how you want to prepare and or compensate for each main category of postures Allocate time for rest and for relaxation at the end in order to digest the nutritious meal of Yoga exercises that you prepared for yourself What we call the...

Supported chair squatting posture Modified ardha utkatasana

Squatting Posture

The supported chair builds overall stamina while it strengthens your back, legs, shoulders, and arms. Move in and out of the posture 3 to 4 times and then stay for 6 to 8 breaths. Use an actual chair as illustrated in Figure 16-9 unless you feel comfortable without it. Use a wide stance to maintain your center of balance. Use your Yoga tools to ease your labor and have In their pure and hybrid forms, all the various methods of childbirth preparation Lamaze, The Bradley Method, Birthing from...

Half chair posture Ardha utkatasana

Ardha Utkatasana

The Sanskrit word ardha pronounced ahrd-ha means half, and utkata, pronounced oot-kah-tah translates as extraordinary. The half chair posture strengthens the back, legs, shoulders, and arms and builds overall stamina. If you find this posture difficult or have problem knees, you may want to skip this position for now and return to it after your leg muscles become a little stronger. Don't overdo this exercise either by holding the position too long or by repeating it more than we recommend , or...

Getting stronger with standard asanas

The main postures are the standard asanas you find featured in the classical Yoga texts and modern manuals. These asanas are the stars of your routine, requiring you to work a little harder. The chapters of Part II describe many of the main postures that we recommend for beginners. Figure 15-12 shows you some examples. Whichever asanas you select, remember to match them with your specific goals. Whenever possible, a warm-up posture precedes and a compensation posture follows each category of...

Not just a Woman thing Andropause

Men experience something similar to menopause called andropause. Although changes in their sexual glands may lessen their sex drives, men can continue to sire children into old age. But when they see their vitality and hairline recede a little, men are often thrown into an existential crisis. Midlife offers a great opportunity to discover life's possibilities beyond sexual reproduction and raising children. Regular Yoga practice can buffer the unpleasant physiological side effects of andropause...

Newspaper sequence

This is the most challenging sequence to coordinate. Give yourself some time to get used to it, and it may become one of your favorites. 1. Start in the seated chair posture. 2. Inhale and then, as you exhale, move both hands up to eye level with your palms facing you as though you were looking at a newspaper Figure 22-24a demonstrates . 3. As you inhale, move both hands up and follow your hands with your eyes and head until your hands are just above your forehead as shown in Figure 22-24b. Try...

Kneetochest posture Ekapada apanasana

Apanasana The Knee Chest Pose

Keeping your back healthy is like tuning a piano. The knee-to-chest posture helps you adjust and relax your lower back. If you have knee problems, hold the back of your thigh instead of just below your knee. Remember, this pose isn't a biceps exercise. Just hold your knee, breathe, and relax. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent palms down and feet flat on the floor. 2. As you exhale, bring your right knee toward your chest, holding your shin just below your knee as in Figure 22-2. 3. Stay...

Pushdowns II Urdhva prasrta padasana II

When you're ready for push-downs II the advanced version of push-downs I in the preceding section , move your bent leg very slowly. Resist the temptation to speed up. 1. Lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor at hip width, rest your arms near your sides with your palms down. 2. As you inhale, draw your right bent knee in toward your chest, keeping your palms on the floor as in Figure 22-5. 3. As you exhale, push your lower back down to the floor, moving your bent...

The auspicious posture Svastikasana

Svastikasana Posture

Before its perversion in Nazi Germany, the svastika served as a solar symbol for good fortune. This is also its meaning in Yoga. The term is made up of the prefix su good and asti is It's good. The svastikasana improves the flexibility of the hips, knees, and ankles and strengthens the back. The following instructions help you get the hang of this posture. Use the preparation series for advanced sitting postures in Chapter 6 to improve your performance for this posture. 1. Sit on the floor with...

Prone resting posture AdVasana Variation

Resting at the right times is an important part of a Yoga sequence, and back bends may be the most strenuous part of your back routine. Remember, Yoga should never feel like you're in a hurry. 1. Lie on your abdomen with your legs at hip width and the tops of your feet on the floor. 2. Rest your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side and relax your shoulders. Bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor with your palms turned down and positioned near the sides of your head...

The butterfly Jathara parVritti Variation I

Back pain sufferers often forget that the lower and upper back are very connected. Often, an upper back twist like the butterfly has a safe ripple effect all the way down when a lower back twist isn't possible. tftNG If you're having a disc-related problem, be very careful of twists for both the upper and lower back. If you have any negative symptoms, such as pain or numbness, leave the twist out and speak to your physician before adding it back into your program. 1. Lie on your left side with...

Thunderbolt posture Vajrasana

Vajrasana Yoga

This exercise is useful for compensation or warm-up. Vajra pronounced vahj-rah means both diamond adamantine and thunderbolt. 1. Kneel on the floor with your knees and feet at hip width. 2. Sit back on your heels and bring your back up nice and tall. Hang your arms close to your sides. 3. As you inhale, lift your hips back up and sweep your arms up over your head see Figure 15-15a . 4. As you exhale, sit on your heels again, fold your chest to your thighs, and bring your arms behind your back...

Lying arm raise with bent leg Shavasana variation

Many back sufferers have more problems on one side of the torso than the other. The lying arm raise is a safe, classic way to gently stretch and prepare each side of the back and neck for the rest of the routine. 1. Lie in the corpse posture found in Chapter 14 with your arms relaxed at your sides and palms down bend just your left knee, and put your left foot on the floor as shown in Figure 22-3a. 2. As you inhale, slowly raise your arms overhead and touch the floor behind you with your palms...

Index

Abdomen classic program formula, 211, 214 described, 122 forward bends, 151 importance of, 121 postures, 123-128 pregnant women, 225 sickness, 121 side bends, 147-150 abdominal muscle, 67-71, 122 abdominal pain, 127 academic class, 249 Acro-Yoga sport , 21 active dynamic relaxation, 51 adductor muscle, 108, 124 adept, 11, 92 ADHD, children with, 237 adhomukha shvanasana, 110-111 adrenal gland, 141 affirmation, 290, 291, 293 afternoon delight exercise, 53-55 afternoon Yoga, 292-293 ahimsa, 249,...

Balancing cat

Balancing Cat Yoga

As you inhale, raise your left arm and right leg to a comfortable height as Figure 8-2 illustrates. 4. Stay in Step 3 for 6 to 8 breaths and then repeat Steps 1 through 3 with opposite pairs right arm and left leg . This posture is a variation of cakravakasana pronounced chuk-rah-vahk-ah-sah-nah . The cakravaka is a particular kind of goose, which in India's traditional poetry is often used to convey love bird. Apparently, when these birds have paired up and then are separated, their...

Cobra II Bhujangasana

Note We recommend that you use either this posture or the cobra I posture in the following section, not both. Cobra I is less strenuous than cobra II, so go with cobra I if you aren't sure. Flip to Chapter 11 for further clarification. As we explain in Chapter 11, most folks simply do too much forward bending. Finding a way to compensate with some form of back bend is important. 1. Lie on your abdomen, with your legs at hip width and the tops of your feet on the floor. You can also separate...