Pose of the Week: Utthita Trikonasana – The Extended Triangle Pose

A standing Pose that can tone your legs, reduce depression, stress and can also improve mental and physical health in your life! We are talking about such an asana today. Utthita Trikonasana-Stretches your whole body and improves your body balance. In Sanskrit, ‘Utthita’ means Extended, ‘Tri’ means Three, ‘Kona’ means angle, and ‘Asana’ means Pose. This asana is pronounced as oo-TEE-tah tree-koh-NAH-sun-nuh, Sanskrit- उत्थितत्रिकोणासन. Trikonasana posture reflects the triangular shape created by your body in the full version of this pose. This pose requires keeping your eyes open in order to maintain body balance and stability.

Benefits

  • This pose helps to improve your metabolism and stimulate the organs
  • Releases stress, anxiety, depression, and calms your mind
  • Improves digestion and reduces those extra kilos
  • Provides energy, balance, stamina and develops concentration
  • Stretches your hamstrings, groins, hips, and legs
  • Opens the chest, shoulders, and relieves lower back pain
  • Strengthens the muscles in your back, thighs, and hips
  • Therapeutic for infertility, sciatica and flat feet

Precautions & Contradictions

Practitioners who are suffering from low Blood Pressure, migraine, Diarrhea, or a Headache should avoid this pose. It is always advisable to attempt this pose under the guidance of an experienced Yoga teacher. If you are suffering from neck injuries, then do not turn your head to look the top hand, rather look straight forward. Those with High Blood Pressure should turn their head downward. People with heart problems should practice this asana against a wall. Discuss with your doctor before practicing this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns.

Procedure

  • Begin in standing position with your feet wide (about four feet or one leg) apart.
  • Now, open and stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Move your right foot out 90 degrees and your left toes in about 45 degrees. Here you can notice that your right foot toes are pointing toward the top of your mat.
  • Keep your feet pressed against the mat and inhale gently. While you exhale, bend your right arm and touch the ground (with right arm) while your left arm goes up.
  • Ensure to keep your waist straight and your body is now bent sideways. Take deep breaths.
  • Now, inhale and come up, bring your arms down to your sides.
  • Relax and repeat on the other side.

Variations

Beginners can take the support of wall to place their back heel if they feel unsteady or uncomfortable in this pose. You can improve your stability by bracing your back torso against a wall. If you want more stability, then rest your bottom hand on a block rather than on the ground.

To deepen the stretch, extend your top arm over your top ear. When you stretch your upper arm, it will become parallel with the ground.

Tips

Ensure to keep your stomach empty before you practice this pose. Have your meals at least four to five hours before you practice this pose so that you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Practice warm-up exercises of the whole body before you attempt this pose. While bending forward do it slowly and gently so as not to lose your body balance. Do not rest your lower hand directly on your knee. This may create too much pressure on your knee joint.

Conclusion

Regular practice of this asana will bring strength and stability to your everyday routine. Moreover, it will bring both physical and mental equilibrium in your life, which is one of the important aspects of our life. You just need a yoga mat and lots of willing power to start this asana! Now, don’t wait, just start your practice and enjoy the journey of yoga.

Pose Of The Week: Salabhasana- The Locust Pose

Salabhasana- The Locust Pose

A long day of sitting in the office may invite stress and fatigue in your body. But, practice of this pose regularly can stretch out your body parts and feel you more calm and relaxed. An intermediate backbend pose which stretches your entire back, spine, chest and help you to feel rejuvenated and energized. In Sanskrit, ‘Salabha’ means ‘Locust’ and ‘Asana’ means ‘Pose’. This asana is pronounced as sha-la-BAHS-anna, Sanskrit- शलभासन. Salabhasana is also called as Grasshopper pose.

This pose resembles to a locust at rest and it takes lot of effort to get into this pose. This pose is regarded as one of the 12 basic asanas of Hatha Yoga sequence and a great foundation for deeper backbends like Bow pose and Wheel pose. Regular practice of this pose can build a better body posture.

Benefits

  • This pose helps to improve your body posture and increases flexibility.
  • Tones the abdominal organs and improves the process of digestion.
  • Strengthens shoulders, arms, legs, hips, thighs and calf muscles.
  • Helps to enhance the blood circulation throughout the body.
  • Provides strength to the entire back of the body.
  • Relieves stress, anxiety, and calms your mind.
  • Improves your body balance and increases the endurance capacity.
  • Regulates your metabolism and helps you to lose that extra weight.

Precautions & Contradictions

People who are having recent abdominal surgery should avoid this pose. Women should not practice this pose during pregnancy. Practitioners suffering from headaches, migraines, back or neck injuries should not practice this pose. Discuss with your doctor before practicing this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns.

Procedure

  • Lie on your belly with your arms alongside your body.
  • Now, inhale and lift your legs and upper torso.
  • Ensure to keep your knees straight and lift your leg upwards.
  • Rest your arms alongside your body with palms facing down.
  • Your weight should rest on your pelvis, belly and lower ribs.
  • Hold this pose for few breaths. Exhale and bring your legs and head down to the floor.
  • Relax your body and repeat the same procedure for 2-3 times.

Variations

Beginners might find it difficult to lift their upper body during the initial practice. You can just lift your legs and use your hands for support. After you mastered the basic pose, increase the stretch by bending and lifting your knees as high as you comfortably can. Now, you can lift your upper body, the arms, the torso and the head. You can make your calf muscles perpendicular to the ground by increasing the stretch.

Tips

Ensure to keep your stomach empty before you practice this pose. Have your meals at least four to five hours before you practice this pose so that you can expand your body fully during the practice. Draw your pelvis down firmly into the mat while lifting your upper body. Engage the muscles of your abdomen to lengthen and lift your body during the posture. Remember never to force your body to achieve a deeper backbend. Yoga is all about the journey and you must enjoy it.

Conclusion

When you practice this pose, it teaches you about how to be calm and relax when you are going through tough times. Because, getting into this pose and staying there for few breaths is really tough and intense. This pose strengthens your back, abdomen and helps to be aware of your own body.

This pose has many benefits. So, don’t wait for the right moment, start your yoga practice today!

Pose Of The Week: Utkatasana – The Chair Pose

Sitting comfortably in a chair in our office throughout the day is as good as inviting back pain. Yoga blessed the mankind with a particular standing pose which allows us to sit in an imaginary chair. Although it’s quite challenging, the result of practicing this asana is quite opposite to the one you gain by sitting in the visible chair. If you can sit in the chair pose, Utkatasana, for few breaths regularly, you can build your strength and stamina without spending money in Gym. In Sanskrit, ‘Utkata’ means Fierce or Powerful or Intense and ‘Asana’ means Pose. It is pronounced as OOT-kah-TAHS-anna, Sanskrit- उत्कटासन. Utkatasana is used as a transitional pose in Sun Salutations.

The Benefits of a Chair Pose

  • This pose helps to strengthen your torso, thighs, ankles and lower back.
  • Engages core muscles and helps to reduce flat feet.
  • Strengthens legs, ankles, and feet and builds stamina and endurance.
  • Stretches the shoulders and opens up the chest
  • Tones the abdominal muscles, nervous system and stimulates the heart.
  • Helps to reduce weight from the buttocks if practiced

Precautions & Contradictions

Practitioners suffering from low blood pressure, insomnia, headaches, damaged ligaments, arthritis, ankle or knee pain should not practice this pose. Discuss with your doctor before practicing this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns.

Steps for a perfect Chair Pose

  • Stand at the front of your mat with feet slightly apart.
  • Now, inhale and raise your arms above your head. Make sure your elbows are straight and fingers pointing straight up. Keep the shoulders down and shoulder plates moving towards each other.
  • Gently bend your knees with the exhalation and try to bring your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep the heels touching the floor.
  • Your knees will be projected slightly over your feet and your thighs will make a right angle with your torso.
  • Now, it looks like you are seating on an imaginary chair.
  • Keep the trunk erect and chest lifted
  • Keep breathing deeply
  • Hold for as long as you feel comfortable and then release this pose by coming into Samasthiti.

Variations

You can bring some variations after mastering this pose. Lift onto the toes of your feet with your knees bent and bring your butt lower towards your heels. Pregnant women should stand with their feet apart to maintain the balance and avoid falling down. If you are suffering from shoulder pain, then you can bring your palms into Anjali Mudra (Prayer Pose) and hold the pose. For beginners, bringing your weight into heels would be difficult. If so, then you can practice this pose near a wall for support. Don’t force your body at any moment to master this pose. Go slowly and steadily.

Tips

This pose helps to build stamina if practiced regularly. While bending your knees, try to maintain your thighs parallel to the floor. Ensure to keep your weight in your heels and don’t stress unnecessarily. This is body balancing pose and needs your attention. So, breathe deeply throughout the pose and maintain the balance. If you are practicing this pose during menstruation, then take special care and practice slowly and gently to avoid pain in the lower back.

Conclusion

The regular practice of this pose builds your stamina, endurance and makes you powerful, fierce and determined. Practice this pose slowly, maintain the correct alignment and balance and over the time you will surely get the flexibility to practice this pose without any constraints.

Pose Of The Week: Prasarita Padottanasana – The Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend Pose

Prasarita Padottanasana- The Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend Pose

How about touching your head on the floor while standing on your mat? Looks weird and seems difficult. However, if practiced regularly with correct alignment, this asana is not as difficult as it seems. The Prasarita Padottanasana is a calming forward bend pose which stretches your back, hamstrings and expands your body. This pose gives soothing relaxation to your body if practiced after running or walking. In addition to that, it acts as a preparatory pose for inversion poses like Tripod Headstand, Handstand, and Headstand. In Sanskrit, ‘Prasarita’ means Wide or expanded, ‘Pada’ means Foot, ‘Uttana’ means Intense Stretch and ‘Asana’ means Pose. This asana is pronounced as pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna, Sanskrit- प्रसारित पादोत्तनासन. It gives intense stretch to the body starting from back to hips. This asana must be done only on an empty stomach, so that you can expand your body during the posture.

Prasarita PadottanasanaBenefits

  • This pose stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the spine, legs, back, and feet.
  • Tones the abdominal muscles and improves the digestion.
  • Helps to alleviate stress, headaches, depression, and backaches.
  • Opens up your hips and provides relief from shoulder tension and neck.
  • Relaxes your mind and soothes the nervous system.

Precautions & Contradictions

Practitioners who are suffering from congestion in the sinus, lower back pain or injury should avoid this pose. Discuss with your doctor before practicing this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns.

Procedure

  • Stand in samasthiti the front of your mat, hands on your waist.
  • Inhale to jump on your right while spreading the feet about 4ft apart.
  • Keeping your hands on the waist, extend the trunk forward from your hips with the exhalation.
  • Touch your fingertips to the floor in line with your feet and with an inhalation, lift your chest one more time to go deeper into the pose.
  • Keep lifting opening your chest and lifting your sitting bones up as you fold further to bring your head toward the floor to touch the mat in between your hands.
  • If your body allows, then reach your hands towards the feet and take a grip of your big toes.
  • To release from this pose, bring the hands back to the waist, inhale gently and come up slowly lifting your chest up as you go.
  • Return to samasthiti.

Variations

The beginners who cannot bring their head all the way down to the floor can use a block to support the head. Use blocks to place your hands if you are not being able to reach the floor with your hands. Practitioners who have mastered this pose can directly come into Tripod Headstand or Sirsasana. From standing, you can also take your hands behind your body, interlace your fingers and extend your knuckles over your head. Advanced practitioners can also bring their knuckles over their head and rests on the floor. But, remember not to force your body at any moment.

Tips

When you move your body down, ensure to extend forward from your hips and not from the waist. Do not lock your knees, keep them lifted to activate the front part of the thighs. Don’t forget to breathe deeply in this pose to maintain the balance and stability. Beginners might find it difficult to touch their head on the floor. But, don’t put unnecessary pressure on your body – Use the props, otherwise, it will only give you pain. Regular practice can bring the flexibility in you to practice this pose fully.

Conclusion

Mastering this pose requires patience and time. The regular practice of this pose can bring calmness and release your stress and anxiety level. Moreover, it also makes your body flexible and eliminates the stiffness. Remember to breathe deeply during this pose and enjoy the journey of yoga.