Yoga Poses

Sun Salutation Animation

Sun Salutation: Surya Namaskara A

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. Ashtanga-Vinyasa practice begins with the performance of this sequence, typically repeated 5 times. This sequence of 9 movements can be considered the foundation for the rest of the practice. Each pose of the sun salutation is the archetype for a family of postures. There is something to learn and master from each. Surya Namaskara is also an ideal way to begin the practice because it works with the major joints. It can vary from a gentle warm-up and ...
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Animated Surya Namaskara B

Sun Salutation: Surya Namaskara B

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. Performance of Surya Namaskara B follows Surya Namaskara A. It is typically performed five times, but this may vary depending on the practitioner and the temperature: practice it as necessary until you begin to perspire lightly. Surya Namaskara B consists of seventeen vinyasas. Click for full size (5000px): (more…) ...
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Padahastasana

Forward Folds: Padangustasana & Pada Hastasana

Padangustasana Pada: Foot Angusta: Big Toe Asana: Pose Essence of the Asana: This is primarily a hamstring stretch. In all forward folding postures, flex the hips, lengthening the hamstrings, rather than flexing and bending the spine. (more…) ...
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Trikonasana

Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose

utthita - extended; tri - three; kona - angle; asana - pose Utthita Trikonasana is the third of the Ashtanga-Vinyasa standing positions. The primary effect of this pose is an increased ability to rotate the forward leg (right pictured) in the hip socket, plus a strengthening of the oblique abdominal muscles. This posture can also be very beneficial for the health of the knee joint, stretching the medial (inside) collateral ligament (the next position, revolved triangle, creates balance by stretching the lateral [outside] collateral ligament). (more…) ...
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Parivrtta-Trikonasana

Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle Pose

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. Parivrtta Trikonasana: Parivrtta - Revolved / Twisted Tri -Three Kon - Angle Asana - Pose This is the fourth position in the Standing Series. It serves as a counterpose to the previous posture, Trikonasana, by twisting the hips in the opposite direction, opening the opposite shoulder, and lengthening the lateral collateral (outside) ligament of the knee. (more…) ...
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Utthita Parsvakonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana: Extended Side Angle

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. Utthita Parsvakonasana Utthita: Extended Parsva: Side Kona: Angle This is the fifth posture in the Standing Series. This is a deceptively complicated posture, and practicing it correctly demands great awareness. It is concerned primarily with the external rotation of the upward side of the body. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. In the legs, this posture focuses on ...
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Parvrtta Parsvakonasana

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. Parivrtta: Revolved / Twisted Parsva: Side Kona: Angle This is the sixth position in the Ashtanga Standing Series. The essential aspect of this position is a twist of the spine from sacrum to atlas (pictured above left). With practice, additional layers are added, working more deeply in the shoulders, and then finally ...
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Prasarita Padottanasana D

Prasarita Padottanasana

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. Prasarita: Spread Pada: Feet Uttana: Stretched / Spread out Asana: Pose This is the seventh position of the Ashtanga Standing Series. It consists of four movements, Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, & D. (Pictured above: D) The essential aspect of this pose is, like all forward folds, a lengthening of the hamstring muscles and rotation of the pelvis. The entire back side of the body, from the heels to the hips, down the spine to the neck, lengthens ...
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Parsvottanasana Standing Forward Fold

Parsvottanasana

Note: Touch or hover your mouse over underlined terms for a definition. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. Parsva: Side Uttana: Stretched / Spread out Asana: Position This is the eighth and final movement of the Ashtanga Standing Series. Following the symmetrical stretching of the hamstrings in the previous position (prasarita padottanasana), the hamstrings are now lengthened asymmetrically. The elements of backbending essential to all forward folds (the lifting and ...
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Utthita-Hasta-Padangusthasana-C

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Utthita: Extended Hasta: Hand Pada: Foot Angusta: Big Toe The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. This is the first pose of the Primary Series, performed after all the Standing (Foundational) Poses. This posture has three variations, which are performed in sequence. All three postures challenge your balance, thereby strengthening the left foot and leg (the supporting side) and the abdominal muscles. In the right (uplifted) leg, activity is focused around ...
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ardha baddha padmottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Ardha: Half Baddha: Bound Padmottana: Upright Lotus Asana: Pose This is the second pose of the primary series. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. This posture requires the leg to be placed in Lotus posture. If your leg can't be comfortably placed in Lotus, don't add this posture until you have given more time to and had the benefit of the Marichyasana and Padmasana positions. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana primarily challenges ...
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Utkatasana

Utkatasana

Utkata: Fierce / Furious / Awkward Asana: Pose Utkatasana is the third pose of the primary series of Ashtanga Vinyasa. This pose builds strength of the legs and shoulders, and demands flexibility of the shoulders. Focus on... Squeeze the knees together, and bend the knees as much as possible while maintaining the verticality of the pose. Bending the knees too much will make the torso and arms lean forward in order to counterbalance, undermining the integrity of the position. Keep the pelvis relatively neutral. Avoid excessive anterior or posterior tilting ...
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Virabhadrasana A - Warrior I

Virabhadrasana A

Virabhadra - Distinguished Hero Asana - Pose Virabhadrasana A is the fourth pose of the primary series. Focus On... The front knee is bent to approximately 70-90 degrees, such that the tibia is perpendicular to the ground in every dimension. The back leg is fully straightened. The upper body is not only vertical, but lifting. Rather than leaning back at the level of the chest or shoulders to create the illusion of verticality, draw upwards from the deep low belly and the waistline. Keep the pelvis relatively neutral. Avoid excessive ...
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Virabhadrasana (Distinguished Hero) B

Virabhadrasana B

Virabhadra – Distinguished Hero Asana – Pose Virabhadrasana B is the fifth pose of the primary series. FOCUS ON… The work of this posture is very similar to that of Virabhadrasana A. The primary difference is that now the legs rotate externally, rather than internally, and the arms find a new position parallel to the floor. The front knee is bent to approximately 70-90 degrees, such that the tibia is perpendicular to the ground in every dimension. The back leg is fully straightened, while the back foot is at a ...
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Dandasana

Dandasana

Danda: Staff / Stick Asana: Pose Dandasana is the sixth pose of the primary series, and the first seated pose. Dandasana is performed before each seated posture as part of the vinyasa to seated. As part of the vinyasa to Paschimottanasana, it is performed for five breaths. As part of the vinyasa to other seated poses, it is not held. Focus On... This pose establishes the blueprint for all forward folds and teaches the principles of forward folding that will be revisited frequently during the primary series. For those well ...
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Paschimottanasana C Variation

Paschimottanasana

Paschim: West / Behind (Referring to the dorsal or back surface of the body) Uttana: Stretched Asana: Pose Paschimottanasana is the seventh pose of the primary series, and the second seated pose. Paschimottanasana has 3 progressively deeper variations: A, B, and C, distinguished by the position of the hands. FOCUS ON… Fold, don't curl. Ideally, a forward fold is a very shallow flexion, rather than a deep rounding of the spine. Forward folding is like folding a piece of paper: rather than head-to-knees, the belly comes down first, the ribs ...
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purvottanasana

Purvottanasana

Purva: East Uttana: Stretched Asana: Pose Purvottanasana is the eighth pose of the primary series, and the third seated pose. It is one of the best postures in the seated primary series to develop hamstring and backbending strength. FOCUS ON… This posture is a backbend, albeit a mild one. The focal point of Purvottanasana is to lift the hips as high as possible. As a result, a gentle backbend forms, mostly in the lumbar spine. The hands are placed beneath the shoulders, with the fingers pointed forward. The palms of ...
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Ardha-Baddha-Padma-Paschimottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana

Ardha: Half Baddha: Bound Padma: Lotus Paschim: West / Behind (Referring to the dorsal or back surface of the body Uttana: Stretched Asana: Pose Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana is the ninth pose of the primary series, and the fourth seated pose. It is essentially the same as Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, simply seated. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. This posture requires the leg to be placed in Lotus posture. If ...
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Triang-Mukhaikapada-Paschimottanasana

Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

Triang: Three parts Mukhaikapada: Face to one leg Paschim: West / Behind (Referring to the dorsal or back surface of the body) Uttana: Stretched Asana: Pose Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana is the tenth pose of the primary series, and the fifth seated pose. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. FOCUS ON… I recommend that you close the knee fully (pull the knee to the chest) before moving it to the side, ...
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Janu Sirsasana A

Janu Sirsasana A

Janu: Knee Sirsa: Head Asana: Pose Janu Sirsasana A is the eleventh pose of the primary series, and the sixth seated pose. There are three variations of Janu Sirsasana (A, B, C) which differ in foot placement. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. FOCUS ON… Janu Sirsasana is a "hip opener," lengthening the muscles of the inner thigh and groin. The action of the straight leg is that of Paschimottanasana, ...
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Janu Sirsasana B

Janu Sirsasana B

Janu: Knee Sirsa: Head Asana: Pose Janu Sirsasana B is the twelfth pose of the primary series, and the seventh seated pose. There are three variations of Janu Sirsasana (A, B, C) which differ in foot placement. The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side. FOCUS ON… The action of this pose is similar to that of A. The main difference is that the rotation of the femur bone is reversed, so ...
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Janu Sirsasana C

Janu Sirsasana C

Janu: Knee Sirsa: Head Asana: Pose Janu Sirsasana C is the thirteenth pose of the primary series, and the eighth seated pose. There are three variations of Janu Sirsasana (A, B, C) which differ in foot placement. Although this pose is intense and demanding, it offers a unique method of enhancing the mobility of the tissues inside the knee joint. Additionally, it is a very therapeutic action on the toes and the plantar fascia (sole of the foot). It encourages the proper tone and lift of the foot's natural arches ...
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The jump back of vinyasa

The Vinyasa

How to Jump back and Jump through Vinyasa means ‘carefully ordered.’ It refers to the sequence as a whole, since each movement has been carefully choreographed. It also refers to the connective tissue between each pose, which is the subject of the following discussion. The vinyasa between poses is the middle section of the Surya Namaskar form (Sun Salutation): catvari (chaturanga); panca (urdhva mukha svanasana); and Sat (adho mukha svanasana.)* The vinyasa is performed between each pose and between the right and left side of asymmetrical postures. If time or ...
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Marichyasana A

Marichyasana A

Marichi: "Ray of Light." Marichi, as one of the aspects of the sun, is the master of illusions, the one who awakens us from dreams or delusions. Also, the name of a sage, one of the Seven Rishis of the Vedas. Asana: Pose Marichyasana A is the fourteenth pose of the primary series, and the ninth seated pose. There are four variations of Marichyasana (A, B, C, D). A & B are forward folds (straight leg / lotus leg), and C & D are twists (straight leg / lotus leg) ...
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Marichyasana B from the Side

Marichyasana B

Marichi: "Ray of Light." Marichi, as one of the aspects of the sun, is the master of illusions, the one who awakens us from dreams or delusions. Also, the name of a sage, one of the Seven Rishis of the Vedas. Asana: Pose Marichyasana B is the fifteenth pose of the primary series, and the tenth seated pose. There are four variations of Marichyasana (A, B, C, D). A & B are forward folds (straight leg / lotus leg), and C & D are twists (straight leg / lotus leg) ...
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Marichyasana C

Marichyasana C

Marichi: "Ray of Light." Marichi, as one of the aspects of the sun, is the master of illusions, the one who awakens us from dreams or delusions. Also, the name of a sage, one of the Seven Rishis of the Vedas. Asana: Pose Marichyasana C is the sixteenth pose of the primary series, and the eleventh seated pose. There are four variations of Marichyasana (A, B, C, D). A & B are forward folds (straight leg / lotus leg), and C & D are twists (straight leg / lotus leg) ...
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Marichyasana-D-Side

Marichyasana D

Marichi: "Ray of Light." Marichi, as one of the aspects of the sun, is the master of illusions, the one who awakens us from dreams or delusions. Also, the name of a sage, one of the Seven Rishis of the Vedas. Asana: Pose Marichyasana D is the seventeenth pose of the primary series, and the twelfth seated pose. There are four variations of Marichyasana (A, B, C, D). A & B are forward folds (straight leg / lotus leg), and C & D are twists (straight leg / lotus leg) ...
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Navasana

Navasana

Nava: Boat Asana: Pose Navasana is the eighteenth pose of the primary series, and the thirteenth seated pose. Navasana is primarily a strength-building posture, developing the hip flexors, abdominal, and spinal musculature. FOCUS ON… Unlike "crunches" of modern exercise routines, the Navasana position is best performed with the spine straight and neutral. This allows the abdominal muscles to strengthen without shortening and hardening. Performing Navasana with a flexed spine, or doing crunches, sit-ups, etc., contributes to the poor posture, back pain, and diminished organ function already endemic to western societies ...
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Bhujapidasana

Bhujapidasana

Bhuja: Arm / Shoulder Pida: Pressure Asana: Pose Bhujapidasana is the nineteenth pose of the primary series, and the fourteenth seated pose. This is the first pose of what is often called the "apex" of the Primary series—five challenging asana in the middle of the series. It is the first arm balance in the primary series to be held for five breaths. Throughout the earlier parts of the sequence, strength has been developing by supporting the body on the hands during the jump forward and back, but this is the ...
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Kurmasana

Kurmasana

Kurma: Turtle (Typically considered to be an incarnation of Vishnu, supporting the world upon his back) Asana: Pose Kurmasana is the twentieth pose of the primary series, and the fifteenth seated pose. This is the second pose of what is often called the "apex" of the Primary series—five challenging asana in the middle of the sequence. Kurmasana requires significant hamstring length, the most of any pose in the Primary series. The final action of Kurmasana—lifting the heels off the ground—demands strength of the quadriceps at their shortest length. FOCUS ON… ...
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Supta Kurmasana

Supta Kurmasana

Supta: Sleeping Kurma: Turtle Asana: Pose Supta Kurmasana is the twenty-first pose of the primary series, and the sixteenth seated pose. This is the third pose of what is often called the "apex" of the Primary series—five challenging asana in the middle of the sequence. Supta Kurmasana is the deepest forward fold of the Primary series. It has several manifestations. The first two forms described here can be perfected during the course of learning the Primary series. The final form, with both legs crossed behind the head, is best added ...
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Garbha-pindasana-side

Garbha Pindasana

Garbha: Womb Pinda: Embryo Asana: Pose Garbha Pindasana is the twenty-second pose of the primary series, and the seventeenth seated pose. This is the fourth pose of what is often called the "apex" of the Primary series—five challenging asana in the middle of the sequence. Garbha Pindasana is a dynamic asana, still for five breaths and nine breaths while moving. The practitioner rolls the length of the spine nine times, said to symbolize the nine months of gestation. It requires a very specific strength of the deep low belly, and ...
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kukkutasana

Kukkutasana

Kukkuta: Rooster Asana: Pose Kukkutasana is the twenty-third pose of the primary series, and the eighteenth seated pose. This is the final pose of what is often called the "apex" of the Primary series—five challenging asana in the middle of the sequence. Kukkutasana, an arm balance, is entered directly from Garbha Pindasana. It can only be performed in Lotus. (If attempted with the legs not in lotus, it becomes Bhujapidasana.) FOCUS ON… Maintain as much flexion of the spine as possible, especially rounding the back and lifting between the shoulder ...
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Baddha-Konasana-A-Side

Baddha Konasana

Baddha: Bound Kona: Angle Asana: Pose Baddha Konasana is the twenty-fourth pose of the primary series, and the nineteenth seated pose. It has three forms: upright, folded, and flexed. In this asana, the feet press together and the knees press towards or into the ground. FOCUS ON… The prime focus as you begin working in this pose is to anteriorly tilt the pelvis. This action can be overdone if you're hypermobile, but the vast majority of practitioners experience a posteriorly tilted pelvis in this asana. (For more on pelvic tilt, ...
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Upavistha Konasana

Upavistha Konasana A

Upavistha: Seated Kona: Angle Asana: Pose Upavistha Konasana A is the twenty-fifth pose of the primary series, and the twentieth seated pose. While both this pose and Baddha Konasana focus on the area of the groin/inner thigh, the position of the legs emphasizes the length of the hamstrings, unlike Baddha Konasana. Specifically, semimembranosus, one of the three hamstring muscles, is lengthened, unlike a forward fold such as Paschimottanasana which is more likely to involve the other hamstring muscles. FOCUS ON… This pose largely follows the same pattern as other forward ...
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urdhva-konasana

Upavistha Konasana B

Upavistha: Seated Kona: Angle Asana: Pose Upavistha Konasana B is the twenty-sixth pose of the primary series, and the twenty-first seated pose. It focuses more on balance than flexibility, and on integration of the limbs. Most of the effort is concentrated in the hip flexors and low belly. FOCUS ON… This asana takes Upavistha Konasana A and adds the element of balance, requiring additional muscular stability. This is an excellent counterpoint to 'A' variation as it teaches the proper action of the legs and spine. That feeling of work should ...
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Supta Konasana

Supta Konasana

Supta: Sleeping Kona: Angle Asana: Pose Supta Konasana is the twenty-sixth pose of the primary series, and the twenty-second seated pose. It is the first introduction to the sarvangasana ("shoulderstand") pattern of postures. FOCUS ON… Follow the vinyasa: the method of entering this asana is important. Many practitioners are tempted to roll into Supta Konasana with momentum rather than strength. Not only does this bypass one of the major purposes of this movement, it exposes the neck to greater risk of injury. This asana must be done correctly; if correct ...
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Supta Padangusthasana

Supta Padangusthasana

Supta: Sleeping Pada: Foot Angusta: Big Toe Asana: Pose Supta Padangusthasana is the twenty-seventh pose of the primary series, and the twenty-third seated pose. It has A and B variations. Though it may appear to be a "flexibility" pose, this is a very strength-based asana. It is one of the few hamstring-strengthening poses in the primary series. Practicing it generates stability in the hamstrings, hips, and low belly. FOCUS ON… In 'A' Variation The point of this pose is not to put the right foot on the ground overhead. Even ...
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chakrasana

Chakrasana

Chakra: Wheel / Circular Asana: Posture Chakrasana is the method of taking Vinyasa from postures that end in a supine position. This transition is performed entirely on one exhalation: First, place your hands by your ears. Towards the end of the exhalation, lift both legs, keeping them straight. Press your head and hands into the floor and flip over, keeping the legs straight to land in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) or Chaturanga. Traditionally, landing in Chaturanga is preferred, to keep the vinyasa count intact. However, it is more ...
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ubhaya-padangusthasana

Ubhaya Padangusthasana

Ubhaya: Both sides Pada: Foot Angusta: Big Toe Asana: Pose Ubhaya Padangusthasana is the twenty-eight pose of the primary series, and the twenty-fourth seated pose. This posture, as with Supta Konasana, prepares the practitioner for Sarvangasana-family poses. It also serves to create strength and coordination in the low belly and hips. FOCUS ON… This asana is very similar to Supta Konasana. The exit is the only major difference. Study Supta Konasana closely and have competence with it before introducing this movement. All the same actions apply. Once balanced in the ...
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Urdhvamukha-Paschimottanasana

Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana

Urdhva: Upward Mukha: Facing / Looking Paschim: West / Behind (Referring to the dorsal or back surface of the body) Uttana: Stretched Asana: Pose Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana is the twenty-ninth pose of the primary series, and the twenty-fifth seated pose. It prepares the practitioner for Sarvangasana-family poses and helps to build strength and finesse in the musculature of the low belly. FOCUS ON… This asana is very similar to Supta Konasana and Ubhaya Padangusthasana. Study both of its predecessors closely and develop competence before introducing this movement. All the same ...
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urdhva-dhanurasana

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Urdhva: Upward Dhanu: Bow Asana: Pose Vinyasa of the Pose From vinyasa, jump through and lay down. Exhaling, bend your legs so your heels and hips are close. Lift your pelvis slightly off the ground, and anteriorly rotate it for a mild beginning to spinal extension. Maintaining this gentle backbend, place your hands by your ears. Inhale, press into your hands to lift up. Make your arms and legs as strong as you can, reaching your knees and heart in opposite directions. After five breaths, touch the crown of the ...
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sarvangasana

Sarvangasana

Sarva: All Anga: Limb Asana: Pose FOCUS ON… Many people treat Sarvangasana as an easy posture, appropriate for beginners. This is a dangerous attitude. The pose should not be attempted without stable and easy alignment in Supta Konasana, Ubhaya Padangusthasana, and Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana. The shoulders should bear the weight of the body in this posture, not the head or neck. The cervical spine should retain its gentle curvature, not flatten on the ground. Your teacher or a friend should be able to slide a hand under your neck. The ...
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halasana

Halasana

Hala: Plough Asana: Pose FOCUS ON… As with Sarvangasana, this is not a posture for beginners. The pose should not be attempted without stable and easy alignment in Supta Konasana, Ubhaya Padangusthasana, and Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana, and experience with the full primary series. The shoulders should bear the weight of the body in this posture, not the head or neck. The cervical spine should retain its gentle curvature, not flatten on the ground. Your teacher or a friend should be able to slide a hand under your neck. The action ...
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karnapidasana

Karnapidasana

Karna: Ear Pida: Pressure Asana: Pose FOCUS ON… As with Sarvangasana, this is not a posture for beginners. The pose should not be attempted without stable and easy alignment in Supta Konasana, Ubhaya Padangusthasana, and Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana, and experience with the full primary series. The shoulders should bear the weight of the body in this posture, not the head or neck. Vinyasa of the Pose From Halasana, exhale and bend the legs and squeeze your ears with your knees. Take at least 10 measured breaths here. Enter Urdhva Padmasana ...
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urdhva-padmasana

Urdhva Padmasana

Urdhva: Upward Padma: Lotus Asana: Pose FOCUS ON… Many practitioners of Yoga find Padmasana to be at least temporarily inaccessible. In that situation, should this asana be done with the legs unbound, in a cross-legged position? Some teachers encourage it. I do not encourage or dissuade students from trying with unbound legs if lotus is impossible; personally, I think it feels very unstable without the lotus and I'm not sure the correct forces of motion can be brought into play without lotus. Try it for yourself and proceed in the ...
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pindasana

Pindasana

Pinda: Embryo / Compact or Dense Asana: Pose If lotus cannot be done, skip this pose and move on to Matsyasana. Vinyasa of the Pose From Urdhva Padmasana, hug the lotus to your chest and bind the hands. Stay at least 10 breaths, then transition into Matsyasana ...
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Matsyasana

Matsya: Fish Asana: Pose Vinyasa of the Pose From Pindasana, lay the hands flat on the ground. Slowly roll down to a supine position, exhaling smoothly. Inhale, press your elbows into the ground, arch your back deeply and place the crown of the head on the ground. Grasp the big toes, and pull on the big toes to encourage the fullest backbend possible. Keep the knees touching the ground. Stay for 10 breaths, then transition directly to Uttana Padasana. Alternatives If lotus is not feasible, this pose can be done ...
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uttana-padasana

Uttana Padasana

Uttana: Stretched Out Pada: Foot/Limb Asana: Pose Vinyasa of the Pose From Matsyasana, inhale and straighten the arms and legs. Stay here for 10 breaths, then place the hands beside the head and lower the legs to the floor. Press into the hands to lay down flat on the ground. Exhaling, take chakrasana ...
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sirsasana

Sirsasana

Sirsa: Head Asana: Pose FOCUS ON… It is important that the weight of the body be borne on the forearms, rather than on the head. This means that careful alignment, control, and shoulder strength is necessary. As one of the final postures of the series, the practitioner should have developed sufficient strength by the numerous repetitions of lifting up and jumping between various asana. Though this is a beneficial pose for all practitioners, it should not be approached before the time is right: beginners ought to wait several months before ...
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padmasana-side

Padmasana

Padma: Lotus Asana: Pose Padmasana is one of the classical and literal "asana," which means "seat." It is considered the finest meditative posture. Personally, I find one of its primary benefits to be that it is the only seated posture I have found in which there is no pressure on the spine—the weight of the body is on the thighbones, not the pelvis. Allowing the spine to "float" in this way helps prevent back pain during extended meditations. (However, there is an acclimation period of the legs "falling asleep.") This ...
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utpluthih

Utpluthih

Utpluthih: From Utplu, to rise or jump up. In this and other flexion arm balances, it is common to see a lack of strength between the shoulder blades and ribs. Thus the torso can be seen "hanging" loosely off of the shoulder blades (which bear the full weight of the body) resulting in the shoulder blades pinching together and a deep depression between one scapula and the other. This can be remedied by drawing the shoulder blades around towards the sides of the ribs (protraction) and lifting the ribs up ...
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rest

Resting

Following Utpluthih, jump through and lay down on your back. There is no particular technique to follow here: just rest, this is not an asana. Do not try to control your breathing or bandha. Relax your feet and let them splay out to the side, let your palms face upward. Close your eyes. Beyond this, just lay there and enjoy the residue (shesha) of practice. Stay in rest for as long as you want. At minimum, allow for 5-10 minutes of rest. If circumstances allow, 20-30+ minutes can be very ...
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Moon Days in Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga has the interesting and unique tradition of abstaining from practice on the days of the full and new moon, called "moon days." I recently received a question regarding the timing of moon days, which got me thinking. (What follows is simply my conjecture & curiosity, I am not an expert.) Q: If a full or new moon occurs before sunrise, should it be observed on the previous day? For example, if the new moon is at 4:29am on Wednesday, should the Ashtangi take off practice on Tuesday? There ...
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