Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose)

[parsh-voh-than-AHS-anna]

Parsva means side and Uttana means intense. The direct translation is intense lateral stretching posture.

Pyramids are strong, durable and solid. Climbing the steps of a pyramid can be an allegory for the journey to enlightenment. Pyramids can also symbolize the sense of harmony and unity we can sometimes feel and create within. The steps of a pyramid represent lessons we have successfully learned. When someone completes a pyramid, it means they are in complete harmony with themselves, society and the environment.

Parsvottanasana, or Intense Side Stretch Pose, is a particularly challenging side stretch that requires strength, stability, presence and patience to perform safely. Also referred to as Pyramid Pose, Parsvottanasana is all about commitment in the legs—creating a solid foundation and strong container to release and expand into.

The pose is definitely more of an intense hamstring (and hip) opener than a side body stretch, and should be approached mindfully and methodically, using the support of a wall or blocks. When done properly, the benefits of Parsvottanasana come from lengthening the spine and strengthening the legs while stimulating digestive organs and calming the mind (as forward folds tend to do).

Health Benefits Of Parsvottanasana

The Intense Side Stretch Pose stretches the hamstrings, spine, shoulders, wrists and hips. It lengthens the spine and relaxes the shoulders and neck. It stimulates the digestive organs thereby improving digestion. This pose strengthens the legs and knees as well.

Parsvottanasana improves sense of balance and calms the mind. This pose improves posture of the body and tones the abdomen.

 

Halasana (Plow Pose)

 

Hal’ stands for ‘plow’ and ‘Asana’ stands for ‘pose‘. Halasana or ‘the plough pose’ takes its name from the farming instrument, plough, used by farmers across India to prepare the soil for sowing of seeds. In the sequence of asanas, Halasana is usually performed after Sarvangasana, which is basically a shoulder stand. According to Meenakshi Swami, the author of The Science of Yoga, “asanas like halasana, suryanamaskara, seershasana and kapalbharti increase the flow of blood to your head, improving intellectual power as well as memory

Cautions

Do not practice this pose if you are currently experiencing diarrhea. Also avoid this pose if you have glaucoma or other eye problems, or a serious back or neck injury. Women who are menstruating should consult with their teacher before practicing inversions, such as Halasana. Women who are pregnant can practice Halasana if it is already a part of their regular practice; otherwise, wait at least eight weeks after giving birth before attempting this pose. Those with asthma or high blood pressure should only practice a version of the pose with the legs supported if the feet do not come all the way to the ground (see Modifications & Variations, below).

GENERAL BENEFITS:

Improves the tone and strength of back muscles as the back is folded, as well as the leg muscles and abdominal muscles. It also removes the rigidity of the back muscles. Improves the working of the spinal nerves, putting pressure on the nerves in the neck region which are predominantly sympathetic. Improves the function of the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands. All of the other endocrine glands are regulated by these main glands and so the overall function of the endocrine system is improved. This results in the improved functioning of all the systems of the body. Gives a complete stretch to the spine which increases its elasticity and overall functioning. Activates digestion and helps with constipation, improves the efficiency of all the abdominal organs such as the spleen, pancreas, liver and kidneys. The breathing movements of the diaphragm help to massage the abdominal organs. Activates the thyroid gland and thymus gland, stimulating metabolism and immunity. Can induce states of pratyahara (sense withdrawal).

How To Do Halasana

  1. Lie on your back. Join the legs together. Relax the whole body (Shavasana position).
  2. Keep the palm flat on the ground. Keep breathing normally.
  3. While exhaling press the palm on ground and raise both the legs upwards straight then try to touch the ground just behind.
  4. Breathe slowly and hold the posture for several minutes (1-2 minutes).
  5. Now slowly release the pose to return to Shavasana.
  6. Repeat this for 3-5 times.

 

What are the mental benefits of yoga

Yoga originated around 5,000 years ago in India, and is a form of exercise that unites the mind, body, and spirit. The combination of stretching, muscle-toning, controlled breathing, and meditation will help you feel more energized and focused throughout the day, even in stressful situations.

The best thing about yoga is that anybody, of any age and any fitness level, can do yoga and feel its benefits. And no, you don’t need to rush out and buy overpriced yoga pants to find your inner peace.

Yoga does a body good. Some of the many health benefits of practicing yoga include improved balance, flexibility, coordination, strength, and endurance. All of these physical benefits lend themselves to improved performance in many other sports and can reduce the risk of injury during other physical activity. Practicing yoga allows kids to use their muscles in new and challenging ways. Learning different yoga poses allows children to become better acquainted with and more aware of their bodies, helping them realize just how powerful and capable their bodies are!

Practicing yoga can teach children discipline, resulting in them making better choices, as well as taking more accountability for their actions. Developing self-discipline teaches children to exercise self-control and be more thoughtful and purposeful in their daily lives. Learning to practice self-control can provide children with the structure and tools that they need to be more responsible, productive, and independent. When a child is better equipped in self-regulating, impulsivity and erratic behaviors drastically decrease.

Yoga offers numerous benefits that can have long-lasting effects. When we expose a child to the many gifts of yoga, we are providing them with tools of empowerment and strength that can last a lifetime. Could yoga be right for your child? We’d love to hear from you.

 Yoga’s mental health benefits:

  • Improves concentration, focus, and mental clarity
  • Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety through increased endorphin secretion
  • Mood stabilization
  • Improves sleep and reduces sleep disturbance
  • Increases feelings of well-being and self-image

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

 

The Matsyasana causes a stretching on the thyroid and parathyroid glands, thereby improving their function and counter balancing the effects of the Jalandhar bandha. It stretches the intestines, liver, pancreas, bladder and other abdominal organs which improves their functioning and efficiency. Reduces blood supply to the legs and redirects it to the reproductive and pelvic organs. Stagnant blood around vertebral column is drained. Improves supply to brain and face, also stretches the carotid artery. The reproductive system is improved due to the increased blood supply. Toning of abdominal, thigh and intercostal muscles. Toning of intercostals muscles help in deep breathing, so it is helpful in asthma and bronchitis. It opens up the chest and lungs. Haemorrhoids. Increases circulation to the back which helps in backache and cervical spondylitis. Boosts the immune system due to its effect on the thymus gland. Loosens the spine and prevents round shoulders. Loosens the legs and prepares them for meditation poses

Benefits Of Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Stretches and stimulates the muscles of your abdomen, neck, and throat
Strengthens the muscles of your upper back and the back of your neck
Helps relieve tension in the neck and shoulders
Helps to improve your posture and provides relief from respiratory disorders

How To Do Matsyasana

  Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended and your arms resting alongside your body, palms down.

  Press your forearms and elbows into the floor and lift your chest to create an arch in your upper back. Lift your shoulderblades and upper torso off the floor. Tilt your head back and bring the crown of your head to the floor.

  Keep pressing through your hands and forearms. There should be very little weight pressing through your head.

  Keep your thighs active and energized. Press outward through your heels.

 

Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

The complicated name of Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana means Forward Bend With Three Limbs Facing Forward. In this seated posture one foot is bent and placed on the outside of the buttock, while the other leg is kept straight. To not fall over the practitioner needs to actively push the buttocks on the side of the bent leg down towards the floor utilizing the abdominal muscles. Initially one may use a hand to avoid falling over to one side, but as with all props, also the natural ones, it is important to be vigilant not to rely on them longer than absolutely needed as this might hinder the development into the full posture. Persons with knee injuries might find this painful, as well as those with tight quadriceps. One way to approach the full posture is to start by keeping both legs bent with the feet at the outsides of the hips.When performed correctly Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasa works to build abdominal stregnth and to increase the range of movement in the joints of the hip and knee.

BENEFITS

  1. Tones and stimulates the abdominal organs.
  2. Assists digestion.
  3. Reduces flatulence and constipation.
  4. Creates flexibility in the knee joint.
  5. Creates flexibility in hips and hamstrings.

 

STEP BY STEP GUIDE – THREE PARTS FORWARD BEND POSE

  1. Start with forming the Dandasana (Staff Pose) on yoga mat.
  2. Bring your left foot back as for Hero Pose (Virasana).
  3. Exhale; try to take hold of the outer edge of your right foot by bending forward.
  4. Inhale; now pull the arms back.
  5. Slowly lift and open your chest.
  6. Exhale; drawn the chin towards your shin.
  7. Bend your elbows and extend the trunk forward.
  8. Hold in this position for few seconds (10 to 60 seconds).

Chair Pose – Utkatasana

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.

Beginners Tip

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)

  1. Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.