Padahastasana

Pada means the foot.  Hasta means the hand .  This posture is done by bending forward and standing on one’s hands.

Techniques of Padahastasana :

1. Stand in Tadasna (Plate I) Spread thelegs a foot apart.

2. Exhale, bend forward and without bending the legs at the knees insert the hands under the feet so that the palsms touch the soles.  (Plate 45)

3. Keep the head up and make the back as concave as possible.  Do not slacken the grip at the knees and take a few breaths in this position.

4. Now exhale, and move the head in between the knees by bending the elbows and pulling the feet up from the palms.(Plate 46) Stay in the pose for about 20 sec. with normal breathing.

5. Inhale, raise the head and come back to position 2 (Plate 45) with the head well up.  Take two breaths.

6. Inhale, stand up and return to Tadasana (Plate I)

Effects of Padangusthasana and Padahasthasana :

The second asana is more strenuous than the first, but the effects of both are the same.  The abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase, while the liver and spleen are activated.  Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen

or from gastric troubles will benefit by practising these two asanas.

Slipped spinal discs can only be adjsted in the concave backposition as in Plates 43 and 45.  Do not bring the head in between he knees if you have a displaced disc.  I have experimented with persons suffering from slipped discs and the concave back position

proved a boon to them.   It is imperative to get guidance from a guru (master) before trying this pose, because it may not be possible to achieve the concave back position immediately.  One has to master other mino poses before attempting this one.

Padangusthasana

Pada means the foot.  Angustha is the big toe.  This posture is done by standing and catching the big toes.

Techniques of Padangusthasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate I) Spread the legs a foot apart.

2. Exhale, bend forward and hold the big toes between the thumbs and the first two fingers, so that the palms face each other.  Hold them right(Plate 43)

3. Keep the head up, stretch the disphram towards the chest and make the back as concave as possible.  Instead of stretching down from the shoulders, bend forward from the pelvic region to get the concave shape of the back from the coccyx.

4. Keep the legs stiff and do not slacken the grip at the knees and toes.  Stretch the shoulder- blades also.   Take one or two breaths in this position.

5. Now exhale, and bring the head in between the knees by tightening the knees and pulling the toes without lifting them off the floor. (Plate 44) Remain in this pose for about 20 sec. maintaining normal breathing.

6. Inhale, come to position 2 (plate 43) , release the toes and stand up.  Return to Tadasana (Plate 1)

Utkatasana

Utkata means powerful, fierce, uneven.  This asana is like sitting on an imaginary chair.

Technique Of Utkatasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate I), stretch the arms straight over the head and join the palms.  (Plate 12)

2. Exhale, bend the knees and lower the trunk till the thighs are parallel to the floor (Plate 42)

3. Do not stop forward, but keep the chest as far as back as possible and breathe normally.

4. Stay in the pose for a few seconds, 30 being sufficient .  It is difficult to balance in this pose.

5. Inhale, straighten the legs (Plate 12), lower the arms, come back to Tadasana (Plate  I) and relax.

Effects of Utkatasana :

The pose removes stiffness in the shoulders and corrects any minor deformities in the legs. The ankles become strong and the leg muscles develop evenly.  The disphram is lifted up and this gives a gentle massage to the heart.  The abdominal organs and the back are toned, and the chest is developed by being fully expanded.  It is a beneficial pose for horsemen.

Ustrasana

Ustra means a camel.

Techniques of Ustrasana :

1. Kneel on the floor, keeping the thighs and feet together, toes pointing back and resting on the floor.

2. Rest the palms on the hips.  Stretch the thighs, curve the spine back and extend the ribs. (plate 40)

3. Exhale, place the right palm over the right heel and the left palm over the heel.   If possible, place the palms on the soles of the feet.

4. Press the feet with the palms, throw the head back and push the spine towards the thighs, which should be kept perpendicular to the floor.

5. Contract the buttocks and stretch the dorsal and the coccyx regions of the spine still further, keeping the neck stretched back.(plate41)

6. Remain in this position for about half a minute with normal breathing.

7. Release the hands one by one and rest them on the hips. (Plate 40) . Then sit on the floor and relax.

Effects of Ustrasana:

People with drooping shoulders and hunched backs will benefit by this asana.  The whole spine is stretched back and is toned.  This pose can be tried conveniently by the elderly and even by persons with spinal injury.

Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita means expanded, spread, extended . Pada means a foot.  The pose is one where the expanded legs are stretched intensely.

Techniques of Prasarita Padottanasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (plate 1)

2. Inhale, place the hands on the waist and spread the legs apart 4.5 to 5 feet. (Plate 29)

3. Tighten the legs by drawing up the knee-caps.  Exhale and place the palms on the floor in line with the shoulders between the feet. (Front view plate 30)

4. Inhale and raise the head up, keeping the back concave. (Side view plates 31 & 32)

5. Exhale, bend the elbows and rest the crown of the head on the floor, keeping the weight of the body on the legs. (Plates 33 and 34)  Do not throw the body weight on the head. Both feet, both palms and the head dhould be in  a straight line.

6. Stay in the pose for half a minute , breathing deeply and evenly.

7. Inhale, raise the head from the floor and straighten the arms at the elbows. Keep the head well up by making the back concave as in position 4 (Plate 30)

8. Exhale and stand as in position 2 (Plate 29)

9. Jump back to Tadasana (Plate 1)

Parsvottanasana

Parsva means side or flank.  Uttana (ut=intense and tan =to extend, stretch, lengthen) means an intense stretch.  The name implies a pose in which the side of the chest is stretched intensely.

Techniques of Parsvottanasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1)  Inhale deeply and stretch the body forward.

2. Join the palms behind the back and draw the shoulders and elbow back.

3.  Exhale, turn the wrists and bring both palms up above the middle of the back of the chest, the fingers at the level of the shoulder-blades.  You are doing  ‘namaste’ (the Indian gesture of respect by folding the hands) with your hands behind your back.  (Plate 24)

4, Inhale and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways 3 to 3.5 feet. Stay in this position and exhale.

5. Inhale and turn the trunk to the right.  Turn the right foot 90 degrees sideways to the right keeping the tows and heel in a line with the trunk; turn the left foot with the leg 75 to 80 degrees to the right and keep the left foot stretched out and the leg tightened atthe knee.  Throw the head back.

6. Exhale, bend the trunk forward and rest the head on the right knee.  Stretch the back and gradually extend the neck until the nose, then the lips and lastly the chin touch and then rest beyond the right knee. (Plate 26) Tighten both the legs by pulling the knee caps up.

7. Stay in the pose from 20 seconds to half a minute with noraml breathing.  Then slowly move the head and trunk towards the leftknee by swinging the runk round the hips.  At the same time turn the left foot 90 degrees towards the left and the right foot 75 to 80 degrees to the left.  Now raise the trunk and head as far as back as you can, with out bending the right leg.  This movement should be done with one inhalation.

8. Exhale, bend the trunk forward, rest the head on the left knee and gradually extend the chin beyond the left knee by stretching the neck as in position 6.

9. After holding the pose from 20 seconds to half a minute with normal breathing , inhale , move the head to the centre and the feet to their original position so that the toes point forward.  Then raise the trunk up.

10. Exhale and jump back to Tadasana (Plate 1) releasing the hands from the back.

11. It you cannot fold the hands together behind the back, just grip the wrist and follow the above technique.  (plates 27 and 28)

Effects of Parsvottanasana :

This asana relieves stiffness in the leg and hip muscles and make the hip joints and spine elastic.  While the head is resting on the knees, tha abdominal organs are contracted and toned. The wrists move freely and any stiffness there disappears.  The posture also corrects round and drooping shoulders.  In the correct pose, the shoulders are drawn well back and this makes deep breathing easier.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Utthita means extended.  Hasta means the hand.  Padangustha is the big toe.  This pose is done by standing on one leg, extending the other in front, holding the toe of the extended leg and resting the head on the leg.

Techniques of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1)

2. Exhale, raise the right leg by bending the knee and hold the big toe of the right foot between the thumb and the fore and middle fingers of the right hand.

3. Rest the left hand on the left hip and balance.  (Plate 20)  Take two breaths.

4. Exhale, stretch the right leg forward and pull it.  (Plate 21) Take two breaths.

5. Whe you are firm in this position, hold the right foot with both hands and raise it still higher.  (Plate 22) Take two breaths.

6. Now, with an exhalation rest the head, then the nose and lastly the chin beyond the right knee. (Plate 23) Stay in this position and take a few deep breaths.

7. Exhale, release the hands and lower the right leg to the floor to return to Tadasana (Plate 1)

8. Repeat the pose on the other side, keeping the right leg on the floor and raising the left leg.

9. Balancing in position 5 and 6 is difficult and cannot be attained without mastering position 4.

Effects of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana :

This asana makes the leg muscles powerful and the balance gives one steadiness and poise.

Ardha Chandrasana

Ardha means half. Chandra is the moon.  The pose resembles the half moon, hence the name.

Techniques of Ardha Chandrasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1) and then do Uthita Trikonasana, (Plate 4) following the technique described earlier.

2. After attaining Trikonasana on the right side, exhale and place the right palm about a foot away from the right foot by bending the right knee and at the same time bringing the left foot near the right one.

3. Wait in this position and take two breathes.  Then exhale and raise the left leg from the floor, toes pointing up; satretch the right hand and the right leg.

4. Place the left palm over the left hip and stretch up, keeping the shoulders well up.  Turn the chest to the left and balance (Plate 19)

5. The weight of the body is borne on the right foot and hip.  The right hand is only a support to control the balance.

6. Hold the pose from 20  to 30 sec.  breathing deeply and evenly.  Then slide the left leg to the floor and go back to Trikonasana (Plate 4)

7. Repeat the pose on the left side.

Effects of Ardha Chandrasana :

The posture is beneficial for those whose legs are damaged or infected.  It tones the lower region of the spine and the nerves connected with the leg muscles and it strengthens the knees.  Along with other standing postures, this asana cures gastric troubles.

Note:  Those who feel weak and are exhausted by the standing poses should only practice Utthita Trikonasana (Plate 4) and Utthita Parsvakonasana (plate 8), as these two asanas strengthen the body.  The other standing asanas should be done only by people

who have built up their strength and whose bodies have become elastic.

Virabhadrasana 3

This posture is an intensified continuation of Virabhadrasana I (plate 14)

Techniques of  Virabhadrasana 3 :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1)

2. Take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart side-ways 4 to 4.5 feet. (Plate 3)

3. Come to the final pose of Virabhadrasana I on the right side. (Plate 14)

4. Exhale, bend the trunk forward and rest the chest on the right thigh.  Keep the arms straight and the palms together. ( Plate 16) Rest in this position, taking two breaths.

5. Now exhale and simultaneously lift the left leg from the floor by swinging the body slightly forward and also straighten the right leg, making it stiff as a poker.  Turn the left leg inwards so that the front is parallel to the floor.(plate 17)

6. Hold in this pose from 20 to 30 seconds, with deep and even breathing.

7. While balancing , the whole body (except the right leg) is to be kept parallel to the floor. The right leg, which should be fully stretched and stiff, should be kept  perpendicular to the floor.  Pull the back of the right thigh and stretch the arms and the left leg as if two persons are pulling you from either end.

8. Exhale and come back to Virabhadrasana I (Plate 14)

9. Repeat the pose on the left side.

Effects of Virabhadrasana 3 :

The illustration (Plate 17) conveys the harmony, balance, poise and power attained by practising this asana.  It helps to contract and tone the abdominal organs and makes the leg muscles more shapely sturdy.  It is recommended for runners, as it gives vigour and agility.

All the movements of this asana improve one’s bearing and carraige. When we stand badly, by throwing the weight on the heels, we retard symmetrical growth and hamper spinal elasticity.  Standing with the weight on the heels causes the stomach to protrude and lessens bodily and mental agility.  This asana helps one to stand firmsly, on the soles of the feet, keeps the stomach muscles in and gives agility to the body and the mind.

Virabhadrasana 2

Techniques Virabhadrasana 2 :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate I)

2. Take a deep inhalation, and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways 4 to 4.5 feet.  Raise the arms sideways in line with the shoulders, palms facing down(Plate 3)

3. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right, keeping the left leg stretched out and tightened at the knee.  Stretch the hamstring muscles of the left leg.

4. Exhale and bend the right knee till the right thigh is parallel to the floor, keeping the right skin perpendicular to the floor, thus forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf.  The bent knee should not extend beyond the ankle,

but should be in line with the heel.(plate 15)

5. Stretch out the hands sideways, as though two persons are pulliung you from opposite ends.

6. Turn the face to the right and gaze at the right palm.  Stretch the back muscles of the left leg fully.  The back of the legs, the dorsal region and the hips should be in one line.

7. Stay in the pose from 20 sec. to half a minute with deep breathing .  Inhale and return to position 2.

8. Turn the left foot sideways 90 degrees to the left and the right foot slightly to the left , flex the left knee and continue from positions 3 to 6 on the left side, reversing all processes.

9. Inhale, again come back to position 2.  Exhale and jump back to Tadasana (Plate 1)

Effects of Virabhadrasana 2 :

Through this pose the leg muscles become shapely and stronger.  It relieves cramp in the calf and thigh muscles, brings elasticity to the leg and back muscles and also tones the abdominal organs.

Mastery of the standing poses prepares the pupil for the advanced poses in forward bending , which can then be acquired with ease.