Chair Pose clearly works the muscles of the arms and legs, but it also stimulates the diaphragm and heart. We know this one can be killer, but it’s definitely worth it. Do you know what “utkata” means in Sanskrit? It means fierce, and “asana” means pose. We get Chair Pose from the fact that you mimic the position of sitting in a chair. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to tone those tired legs, Utkatasana can bring out your fierce side!
To emphasize the health benefits of this posture, you can try a more advanced variation. Once you are in position, brings your hands together at your heart like you are praying. Twist to the right side, keeping the left elbow outside the right knee. Stay low and keep the knees pressed together. Come back to center and repeat on the opposite side.
If you are having trouble relaxing into this pose, stop trying to force yourself into a shape your body isn’t ready to make. Try one or more of the above modifications to help find the right chair for you.
How To Do Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
- Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.
Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will project out over the feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs until the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels.
- Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in
toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.
4. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees with an
inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides into Tadasana.
Sanskrit Name: Marjaryasana
Marjari = Cat
Asana = Cow
The cat pose yoga is fairly a simple pose. But in the event you find it hard to round the top of your upper back, you could ask a friend or your instructor to help you out. Ask them to place their hand between and above the shoulder blades so that it can help activate that region.
It might be a good idea to start off the practice with the preparatory poses so that your muscles are flexed enough by the time you come to this asana.
According to the CDC, back pain strikes 80 percent of the people in our population at some time in their life. This makes it imperative that we teach our spines to be more flexible through poses such as Cat and Cow. Think about it, your back health means everything when it comes to living your life fully! Keeping a healthy spine is crucial and part of that includes flexibility training.
Step by step
- Start on your hands and knees (all fours). Knees directly under hips and wrists, elbows and shoulders in line with each other. Neck in line with your spine, gaze resting softly on the floor.
- Spread your fingers and press through the base of the fingers and the finger tips.
- Exhale and round your spine towards the ceiling, lifting the side waists.
- Pull in your abdominals and tuck your tailbone, gently contracting your glutes. Try to keep your shoulders and knees in position.
- Release your head towards the floor and press firmly into your hands.
- Inhale and come back into your neutral starting position.
If you experience anxiety, it is best to avoid breath retention due to the potential spike in the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight response center) and focus on the exhale to promote the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest response center).
Benefits of Marjariasana (The Cat Pose)
- Marjariasana loosens up the spine and make it flexible. It gets rid of stiffness in the back muscles.
- It is good for those suffering from Spondylitis and slipped disk.
- Marjariasana also has an indirect effect on the organs of the lower abdomen, including the digestive system, intestines and the reproductive organs. It gives a good massage and stretch to these organs.
Hatha Yoga is a series of asanas or postures that seek to open up the channels in the body for free flow of energy, thereby creating harmony and balance between two opposing forces. The result is that the body develops a balance between strength and flexibility along with surrender and submission in each pose.
All the poses for this 60-minute sequence for a beginner Hatha Yoga class come from the books Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati and The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown.
The descriptions following the poses in this list are critical to performing the postures properly and not a detailed description of how to perform them. I recommend acquiring the above books, which are excellent texts, or searching the Yoga Journal Pose Finder for that information.
Hatha Yoga For Overall Fitness
When practiced regularly, Hatha yoga poses improve multiple aspects important to physical fitness. As revealed in a study published in a 2001 issue of Preventive Cardiology, a minimum of two yoga classes attended per week — these included 10 minutes of dynamic warm-up poses and 50 minutes of asana — for eight weeks improved oxygen uptake, muscular strength and endurance and joint mobility.
The first point to remember is that if you feel sharp pain in the joints or muscles, you must immediately stop the asana. It may be that the pose is not right for you or there is something wrong with your body alignment. If your body just feels the exertion of the exercise you can continue to push yourself to maintain your posture.
A basic Hatha yoga class consists of :
Pranayama (breathing exercises),
Sun Salutation, and
13 asanas (postures). Variations of these postures are usually included, and others added according to the standard of the students.
5 Basic Hatha Yoga Poses:
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Upward-Facing Dog Pose — Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (OORD-vuh MOO-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh) — is a back-bending yoga posture that lengthens and strengthens the spine, torso, and arms. Its name comes from four Sanskrit words:
- “Urdhva” — meaning “upward”
- “Mukha” — meaning “face”
- “Svana” — meaning “dog”
- “Asana” — meaning “pose”
Like most yoga poses, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana must be performed at least 3-5 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach and bowels should be empty at this time. Even though Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is an easy yoga pose, you can perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform this pose. You can learn a few Urdhva Mukha Svanasana prep poses such as Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand pose) before you learn how to do Upward Facing Dog Pose pose
Let go of that silly, silly belief that you need to lift your chin. Let that be the icing on the cake. Think this pose more of a chest opener than backbend. Drawing the nose into the face helps to lengthen the neck and melt the shoulders away from the ears, creating more space to open up.
Oh, and BREATHE! Otherwise, you will die…which, if you think about it, kinda misses the point of all this stuff.
Upward-Facing Dog Step-by-Step
- From Table pose, slowly drop the hips forward toward the floor.
- Press palms down into the floor, drop the shoulders down and back, press the chest forward, and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and lift thighs and legs off of the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down and engaging Mula Bandha.
- Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.
- To release: bend the knees and lift the hips back up into Table Pose.
Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Best exercise for your wrists.
- Beneficial for lower back coz this pose stretches the lower back muscles.
- Stretches the muscles of the shoulders and chest also.
- It tones and stimulates the abdominal muscles and organs
- It improves the posture of the body.
- Beneficial for chest, heart and lungs.
- It stretches the upper back and front of your body
- Gives strength to your shoulders, wrists, arms and back bone.
Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Trikonasana or the triangle pose is a good stretching exercise which gives flexibility to the spine and pelvic region. In Sanskrit ‘trikona’ means ‘three corners’ or a ‘triangle’.
Trikonasana is an excellent posture to develop strength and balance. It also gives flexibility to the legs, waist and knees. It gives a sense of expansiveness as the arms and torso are bent and reaches for the toes. It gives a sense of balance for the whole body. Those who have stiff legs, knees and waist can use this posture to regain their flexibility and strength.
Alignment & Anatomical Focus:
At either end of the spine lie the triangular shaped bones of the sacrum (at the base) and the occiput (at the base of the back of the skull).The asana has two lines of energy radiating outward from the centre pelvis. The first line of energy moves down the legs and into the feet. The second line travels through the spine and arms into the hands.
In satanic ritual, conjuring demons requires that three black animals are sacrificed. The three primary gods (Anu, Bel, and Ea) of ancient Babylon represent Heaven, Earth and the Abyss.
The symbolic importance of triangles and the number three can be found throughout history and across all cultures. We can find it in the following well-known grouping of concepts such as:
1. Body, mind, and spirit.
2. Past, present, and future.
3. Art, science, and religion.
Benefits Of Uthitha Trikonasana (ExtendedTriangle Pose)
- Strengthens and stretches the legs
- Stretches the hips, hamstring and spine
- Opens the chest to improve breathing, this helps with the treatment of asthma.
- Relieves mild back pain
- Stimulates the abdominal organs and aids with digestive problems.
- Improves sense of balance
salamba = with support (sa = with
alamba = support)
sirsa = head
Headstand is referred to by some as the “king” of all yoga poses due to its multitude of benefits. As with all inversions, headstand flips your perspective and alleviates pressure on the heart because it doesn’t have to work as hard as it normally does to get blood to the upper body. It is a full upper- and mid-body workout that strengthens your arms, shoulders, and core. Among many other benefits, headstand is said to stimulate digestion, calm the brain, reduce stress and mild depression, and be therapeutic for sinusitis, asthma, infertility, and insomnia.
How to do headstand
How to Do a Headstand includes step-by-step sequence of exercises to get you ready for this inverted yoga pose.
So how do you stay balanced while lifting up into yoga headstand with legs straight? It helps to understand that the legs have weight. As you lift them to horizontal they are going to tip you in one direction. So you need to move your hips in the opposite direction to stay balanced.
- Draws fresh blood into the upper body while stimulating drainage and circulation to the legs
- it quietens the mind and so prepares you for meditation
- Strengthens the arms, legs and back
- Strengthens the core
- Warms up the upper back, so Headstand is a great preparation for backbends
- Improves mood for many people
Bharadvajasana is a seated twisting yoga pose as well as a binding pose.
One of the reasons that I like this yoga pose so much, especially when grabbing my foot from behind my back, is that it tends to “release” my lower back. (Another good pose for “releasing the lower back” this is triangle pose.)
In Bharadvajasana one leg is in hero position with the shin folded to the outside of the thigh. The other leg is in lotus with the top of the foot on top of the other thigh.
As a beginner, it might be hard for you to perfect laying the weight of your entire body on the twisting side. You might end up tilting on that side, which will lead to compression of the lower back. To avoid this, raise your buttock using a blanket that is folded thickly. Then, consciously sink your buttocks towards the floor.
Benefits of Bharadvajasana
Bharadvajasana stretches the spine, torso, shoulders, and hips. It is a belly-open pose, which makes it a safe twist for women who are pregnant. Twisting your torso in this pose massages and positively stimulates the organs of your torso, which improves digestion, regulates metabolism, and aids the organs in detoxification. Bharadvajasana also helps to relieve lower back pain, neck pain, and sciatica.
Like all twists in yoga, Bharadvajasana helps to relieve stress by “squeezing out” the anxiety and negative emotions of daily life, just like wringing out a sponge. It restores balance and equanimity to mind, body, and spirit — leaving the practitioner in a calmer, more graceful state of mind, even off the mat.
How to do Bharadvajasana
- Begin sitting in Staff pose (Dandasana). Shift to your left, bend your knees, and swing your legs to the right. Rest your right ankle in the arch of your left foot.
- Lengthen your spine. Exhale and twist to the left.
- Tuck your right hand underneath your left knee. Then grasp your upper right arm with your left hand by placing your left arm behind your back. Exhale and continue twisting the torso to the left.
- Gaze over your left shoulder
- Stay in this pose for up to one minute. Exhale to release and repeat on the opposite side.
Strengthen the Body, Calm the Mind, Open the Heart. A Hatha Flow class is taught with unique sequencing to promote a dynamic + relaxing experience. This class incorporates all aspects of a traditional Hatha yoga class – breath, meditation and postures – while challenging your co-ordination through movement. This class is Level 1-2 and is suitable for beginner and intermediate students.
Hatha Yoga Flow classes incorporate traditional Hatha Yoga with a beautiful flow of movement from one posture to the next, creating a meditative flow of sequencing whilst using the breath.
Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. Practicing Hatha Yoga with a Vinyasa flow, we develop a balance of strength and flexibility and align our mind, body, and spirit so that energy can flow freely as we learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose. A guided mindful meditation concludes the class before resting in awareness.
Hatha Flow Yoga classes at Om Yoga Academy
Our yoga flow classes is a fluid, strong and graceful hatha yoga creatively sequenced to mindfulness of breath while incorporating proper alignment, playfulness and daily inspiration. These classes are suitable for all experienced yoga practitioners. A perfect mid-week fun, strength and awareness cultivation!
Both the Hatha Yoga and the Hatha Flow Yoga classes will start with an initial relaxation, followed by a breathing exercise (pranayama) and end up with a deep relaxation. In conclusion, a cup of tea will be drunk on the yoga mat. Classes are renewed each week but do follow up. That way new postures are being integrated and scholar postures come back regularly. This not only ensures dynamic classes, but gives participants the opportunity to feel and experience progression. The Hatha Yoga and Hatha Flow Yoga classes can be combined well and are suitable for everyone. However, if you are new to yoga or suffering from respiratory problems, Yoga Sanchara recommends to start with Hatha Yoga.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise and way of living that focuses on your mind, body and soul. It’s a holistic practice for all ages. The word ‘Yoga’ has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yug’ which refers to the union of our individual consciousness and the universal consciousness.
Yoga is a great way to lose weight if practised regularly using the right form. It is light on the joints and the chances of injury – if done initially under the guidance of a trained professional – are minimal. Moreover you don’t have to waste thousands on that expensive gym membership; yoga can be practised from the comfort of your home.
According to her, before we target weight loss, it is important to understand the various factors that contribute in weight gain. Apart from faulty dietary habits, one should identify that weight gain also stems from inefficient functioning of various bodily functions. Yoga has some of the most basic breathing practices at its base which aims at cleansing, balancing and rejuvenating our inner organs and their functions. Various breathing exercises and basic asanas help in increasing metabolic and heart rates. Once you are healed from within, the focus then shifts towards the outer body.
Here are 10 more tips to lose weight even faster:
- Eat a high-protein breakfast. …
- Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. …
- Drink water a half hour before meals. …
- Choose weight loss-friendly foods (see list). …
- Eat soluble fiber. …
- Drink coffee or tea. …
- Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods. …
- Eat your food slowly.
Yoga Poses For Weight Loss:
- Surya Namaskar
- The warrior pose orVeerabhadrasana
- Triangular pose orTrikonasana
- Upward plank orPurvottanasana
- The boat pose:
Holding poses for a longer period of time is an extremely beneficial addition to your practice.
Holding a pose for a longer period helps build strength and stamina. For example when you hold Warrior II for a longer period, the muscles of your legs and arms have to work harder to maintain the pose.
When you hold a pose, you have time to actually feel, to adjust and to readjust. Watch out for allowing your mind to become completely occupied with this. While it’s fine to take some time to focus on your alignment don’t allow it to become your sole focus in the pose.
Holding a pose for longer then you are used to can often give space for emotions to arise. You go beyond the point that is comfortable (obviously you come out of the pose if it feels painful or does not feel ‘right’). Going beyond the comfort zone can bring up fear and other emotions.
Then there are prone poses such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) that even adepts do not hold for more than a minute. On the other hand, certain poses such as Sirshasana (Head Stand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) may comfortably be held with practice for up to ten minutes. Here again, different schools of Yoga have differing views. It actually all depends upon a variety of factors including your gender, age, physical fitness, medical health, flexibility and needs.
All of the meditative poses, however, can be held for longer periods of time, without any complications. For these types of postures, it is actually beneficial to retain the asana without needing to take a break. These poses include the Easy Pose (Sukhasana), the Corpse Pose (Shavasana), and the Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana). Asanas are meant to strengthen the mind and spirit, while toning the body, in a safe progressive manner.