Virabhadrasana

Daksa once celebrated a great sacrifice,  but he did not invite his daughter Sati nor her husband Siva, the chief of the gods.  Sati, however, went to the sacrifice, but being greatly humiliated and insulted threwherself into thefire and perished.  When Siva heard this he was gravely provoked, tore a hair from his matted locks and threw it to the ground.  A powerful hero named Virabhadra rose up and awaited his orders.  He was told to lead Siva’s army againt Daksa abd destroy his sacrifice.  Virabhadra and his army appared in the midst of Daksa’s assembly like a hurricane and destroyed the sacrifice, routed the other gods and priests and beheaded Daksa.  Siva in grief for Sati withdrew to Kailas and plunged into meditation.  Sati was born again as Uma in the house of Himalaya.  She strove once more for the love of Siva and ultimately won his heart.  The story is told by Kalidasa in his great poem Kumara Sambhava (the birth of the war-lord)

This asana is dedicated to the powerful hero created by Siva from his matted hair.

Techniques of Virabhadrasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1)

2. Raise both arms above the head; stretch up and join the palms (Plate 12)

3. Tkae a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart side ways 4 to 4.5 feet

4. Exhale, turn to the right.  Simultaneously turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right.  (Plate 13)  Flex the right knee till the right thigh is paralel to the floor and  the right shin perpendicular to the floor, forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf.  The bent knee should not extend beyon the ankle, but should be in line with the heel.

5. Stretch out the left leg and tighten at the knee.

6. The face, chest and right knee should face the same way as the right foot, as illustrated .  Throw the head up, stretch the spine from the coccyx and gaze at the jointed palms. (Plate 14)

7. Hold the pose from 20 seconds to half a minute with normal breathing.

8. Repeat on the left side as in positions 4 to  , reversing all processes.

9. Exhale and jump back to Tadasana(Plate 1)

*** All standing poses are strenuous, this pose in particular.  It should not be tried by persons with a weak heart. Even people who are fairly strong should not stay long in this asana.

Effects of Virabhadrasana :

In this pose the chest is fully expanded and this helps deep breathing.  It relieves stiffness in shoulders and back, tones up the ankles and knees and cures stifness of the neck.  It also reduces fat round the hips.

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Parivrtta means revolved, turned round or back.  Parsva means side or flank.  Kona is an angle.  this is the revolving lateral angle posture.

Techniques of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana(Plate 1)

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

3. Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right and the left foot 60 degrees to the right, keeping the left leg stretched out and tightened at the knee. Bend the right leg at the knee until the thigh and the calf form a right angle and the right thigh is parallel to the floor.

4.  Exhale, and rotate the trunk and the left leg so as to bring the left arm over the right knee.  Rest the left armpit on the outer side of the right knee, and place the left palm on the floor by the outer side of the right foot.(plates 10 & 11)

5. Give a good twist to the spine(to the right) turn the trunk and bring the right arm over the right ear(as in the illustrations) and gaze up at the outstretched right arm.  Keep the left knee tight throughout.

6. Hold this pose from half a minute to a minute, breathing deeply and evenly. Inhale, and lift the left palm from the floor.  Raise the trunk and come back to position2, by straightening the right leg and raising the arms.

7. Continue with exhalaion on the left side, as in positions  to 5 reversing all processes.

8. In all cases where the movements are done first on one side and then on the other the time taken should be the same in each case.  This general rule applies here.

Effects of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana :

This pose being a more intensified one than Parivrtta Trikonasana (Plate 6) has a greater effect.  The hamstrings, however , are not stretched as much as in Parivrtta Trikonasana .  The abdominal organs are more conracted and that aids digestion.  The blood circulates well round the abdominal organs and the spinal column, and they are thus rejuvenated.  The asana helps to remove waste matter from the colon without strain.

Utthita Parsvakonasana

Parsva means side or flank.  Kona means angle. This is the extended lateral angle pose.

Techniques of Utthita Parsvakonasana :

utthita parsvakonasana pose 300x258 Utthita Parsvakonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana Pose

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1)  Take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs aprt sideways 4 to 4.5 feet.  Raise the arms sideways , in line with the shoulders, palms facing down. (Plate 3)

2. While exhailing slowly, 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 tightenedat the knee.  Bend the right leg at the knee until the thigh and the calf

form a right angle and the right thigh is parallel to the floor.

3. Place the right palm on the floor by the side of the right foot, the right armpit covering and touching the outer side of the right knee. Stretches the left ear.  Keep the head up.  (plates 8 & 9)

4. Tighten the loins and stretch the hamstrings.  The chest, the hips and the legs should be in a line and in order to achieve this, move the chest up and back.  Stretch every part of the body, concentrating on the back portion of the whole body,

specially the spine .  Stretch  the spine until all the vertebrae and ribs move and there is a feelin that even the skin is being stretched and pulled.

5. Remain in this pose from half a minute to a minute, breathing deeply and evenly.  Inhale and lift the right palm from the floor.

6. Inhale, straighten the right leg and raise the arms as in position I.

7. Continue with exhalation as in positions 2 to 5.  reversing all processes, on the left side.

8. Exhale and jump back  to Tadasana. (plate 1)

Effects of Utthita Parsvakonasana :

This asana tones up the ankles, knees and thighs.  It corrects defects in the calves and thighs, develops the chest and reduces fat round the waist and hips and relives and arthritic pains. It also increases peristaltic activity and aids elimination.

Parivrtta Trikonasana

Parivrtta means revolved, turned round or back.  Trikona is a triangle.  This is the revolving triangle posture.  It is a counter pose to Uttihita Trikonasana.

Techniques of Parivrtta Trikonasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana(Plate I) Take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways 3 to 3.5 feet.  Raise the arms sideways, in line with the shoulders, palms facing down(Plate 3)

parivrtta trikonasana pose 258x300 Parivrtta Trikonasana

Parivrtta Trikonasana Pose

2.  Turn the right foot sideways to 90 degrees to the right.  Turn the left foot 60 degrees  to the right, keeping the left leg stretched out and tightened at the knee.
3. Exhale, rotate the trunk with the left leg in the opposite directions(to the right) so as to bring the left palm on the floor near the outer side of the right foot.
4. Stretch the right arm up, bringing it in line with the left arm.  Gaze at the right thumb. (Plates 6 & 7)
5. Keep the knees tight.  Do not lift the toes of the right foot from the floor.  Remember to rest the outer side of the left foot well on the floor.
6. Stretch both the shoulders and shoulder-blades.
7. Stay in this pose for half a minute with normal breathing.
8. Inhale, lift hand from the floor, rotate the trunk back to its original position and come back to position 1.
9. Exhale, repeat the pose on the left side by turning the left foot sideways 90 degrees to the left and the right foot 60 degrees to the left and place the right plalm on the floor near the outer side of the left foot.
10. Stay in the pose on both sides for the same length of time, which can be adjusted by doing , say, three to four deep respirations on each side.
11. After completing the time, inhale, raise the trunk back to its original postion, bring the toes to the front and keep the arms as in position 1.
12. Exhale and jump back to Tadasana (Plate 1) This completes the asana.

Effects of Parivrtta Trikonasana :

This asana tones the thigh, calf, and hamstring muscles.  The spine and muscles of the back are also made to function properly, as the pose increases the blood supply round the lower part of the spinal region.  The chest is expanded  fully.  The pose releives pains in the back, invigorates the abdominal organs and strengthens the his muscles.

Utthita Trikonasana

Utthita means extended, stretched.  Trikona (tri=three; kona=angle) is a triangle.  This standing asana is the extended triangle pose.

Techniques of Utthita Trikonasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate I)

2. Inhale deeply and witha jump spread apart the legs sideways 3 to 3.5 feet.  Raise the arms sideways,  in line with the shoulders,

utthita trikonasana pose 258x300 Utthita Trikonasana

Utthita Trikonasana Pose

palms facing down.  Keep the arms parallel to the floor (Plate 3)

3.Turn the right foot sideways 90 degrees to the right.  Turn the left foot slightly to the right, keeping the left leg stretched from the inside and tightened at the knee.

4.Exhale, bend the trunk sideways to the right, bringing the right palm near the right ankle.  If possible, the right palm should rest completely on the floor.  (Plates 4 and 5)

5.Stretch the left arm up(as in the illustrations), bringing it in the line with the right shoulder and extend the trunk.  The back  of the legs, the back of the chest and the hips should be in a line.  Gaze at the thumb of the outstretched left hand.  Keep the right knee locked tight by pulling ip the knee cap and keep the right knee facing the toes.

6.Remain in this position from half a minute to a minute, breathing deeply and evenly.  Then lift the right palm from the floor.  Inhale and return to position 2 above.

7.Now, turn the left foot sideways 90 degrees to the left, turn the right foot slightly to the left, keep both knees tight and continue from position 2 to 6 , reserving all processes.  Inhale, and come to position 2.

Hold the posture for the same length of time on the left side.

8. Exhale, and jump, cming back to Tadasana.

Effects of Utthita Trikonasana :

This asana  tones up the leg muscles, removes stiffness in the legs and hips, corrects any minor deformity in the legs and allows them to develop evenly.  It relieves backaches and neck  sprains, strengthens the ankles and develops the chest.

Vrksasana One

Vrksa means a tree.

Techniques of Vrksasana One :

1. Stand in Tadasana

2. Bend the right leg at the knee and place the right heel at the root of the left thigh.  Rest the foot on the left thigh, toes pointing downwards.

3. Balance on the left leg, join the palms and raise the arms straight over the head (plate 2)

4. Stay for a few seconds in the pose breathing deeply.   Then lower the arms and seperate the palms, straighten the right leg and stand again in Tadasana.

5. Repeat the pose , standing on the right leg, placing the left heel at the root of the right thigh.  Stay for the same length of time on both sides, come back to Tadasana (plate 1) and relax.

Effects of Vrksasana One :

The pose tones the leg muscles and gives one a sense of balance and poise.

Tadasana (Samasthiti)

Tada means a mountain.  Sama means upright, straight, unmoved .   Sthithi is standing still, steadiness.  Tadasana therefore implies a pose where one stands firm and erect as a mountain.  This is the basic standing pose.

tadasana 175x300 Tadasana (Samasthiti)

Tadasana Pose

Techniques of Tadasana (Samasthiti):

1. Stand erect with the feet together, the heels and big toes touching each other.  Reset  the heads of          metatarsals on the floor and stretch all the toes flat on the floor.

2.  Tighten the knees and pull the knee-caps up, contact the hips an d pull up the muscles at the back of the thighs.

3. Keep the stomach in, chest forward, spine stretched up and the neck straight.

4. Do not bear the weight of the body either on the heels or the toes, but distribute it evenly on them both.

5. Ideally in Tadasana the arms are stretched out over the head, but for the sake of convenience, one can place them by the side of the thighs.

Each of the standing poses described below can then be followed easily, starting with the pupil standing in Tadasana with palms by the side of the thighs.

Effects of Tadasana (Samasthiti):

People do not pay attention to the correct method of standing.  Some stand with the body weight thrown only on leg, or with one leg turned completely sideways.  Others bear all the weight on the heels, or on the inner or outer edges of the feet.  This can be noticed by watching where the soles and heels of the shoes wear out.  Owing to our faulty method of standing and not distributing the body weight evenly on the feet, we acquire specific deformities which hamper spinal elasticity.  Even if the feet are kept apart, it is better to keep the heel and toe in a line parallel to the median plane and not at an angle.  By this method, the hips are contracted, the abdomen is pulled in and the chest is brought forward.  One feels light in body and the mind acquires agility.  If we stand with the body weight thrown only on the heels, we feel the gravity changing, the hips become loose, the abdomen protrudes, the body hangs back and the spine feels the strain and consequently we soon feel fatigued and the mind becomes dull.  It is therefore essential to master the art of standing correctly.