Also known as Paramount pose, or Mountain Pose, as well as Down Dog.
This pose strengthens the nerves and muscles in both the arms and the legs as well as the back. It is a strong stretch for the muscles and ligaments enabling growing bones to grow longer but also giving decompressing the spine increasing height. Like all inverted asnas, Parvatasana stimulates circulation, especially in the upper spines between the shoulder blades.
Start in Pranamasana calm the breath and on the next inhale step one foot back extending the leg then the other, so feet are side by side. Exhale and push the hips to the sky making a the shape of a mountain with your body. Press equally into all 10 fingers firmly tilting the hips down and the tail bone up.
The back must remain straight. The arms as well without locking the elbows and gradually the legs over time and practice will straighten entirely and the heels will come to the ground. Gaze towards your knees or if your neck allows it gaze at your bellybutton. The Head should remain in lines with the arms . Do not hold the breath, nor strain in the pose.
To exit lower knees to the ground and fold over your thighs resting your forehead on to the ground. Keeping the arms where they were during Parvatasana or place them alongside the body palms facing up
Breathing: Exhale to push hips to the sky. Inhale to exit. There exists an advanced breathing practice with this asana or in Surya Namaskar where breath retention and bandhas are involved. To learn this technique master this pose as well as the sequence of Surya Namaskar ( 30 rounds consecutively) and seek a qualified teacher or Yoga master.
Chakra Awareness: Vishuddhi
!Parvatasana is an invert’ed pose thus anyone with cardiac problems, severe spinal issues or recently overcoming food intoxication should not practice this asana.
Sarvangasana is a holistic asana that benefits many of the body’s system. Hower a healthy spine and neck is necessary.
This asana balances the nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems. The body’s weight in this pose is inverted applying pressure on the diaphragm inducing deep breathing relieving stress ans emotional tension. The immune system and the parathyroid glands benefit from this pose. The thyroid is also deeply compressed in this asana massaging the internal organs of the digestive system and endocrine system. It regulates the thyroid and the body’s metabolic rate.
Begin on your back. Legs and feet straight and engaged with the arms along side the body palms facing down. Deepen your breath and on an Inhale lift both legs up to 90 degrees, exhale and with the help of your hands pushing on your lower back, with the elbows bent pressing on the floor lift the hips up over the shoulders and carefully extend both legs straight in the air.
Strive to remove the bend in the back of the knees. Keep the back as straight as possible. Keep the hands on the lower back with the elbows pressing on the ground throughout the posture. Do not move the head in this pose under any circumstance.
To exit exhale lower the legs with control, roll the back on to the floor without letting the head pop up. Take a breath here with the legs at 90 degrees in the air, then exhale move slowly and carefully and use the whole exhalation to control the lowering of the legs to the ground. Your abdominal muscles and diaphragm must be engaged for a safe exit. Relax for a few breaths before continuing your practice.
Sequence: Sarvangasana is to be practiced immediately before Halasana. Counter pose for this asana is Matsyasana, Ustrasana, Chakrasana
Breathing:Inhale to lift the legs. Exhale to lift the boy over the shoulders. Exhale to lower the body exiting the pose. Maintain deep breathing through the pose.
Chakra awareness: Vishuddhi
! Do not attempt if you have an enlarged thyroid, liver or spleen. if you have a history of thrombosis, slipped discs, hernias, sciatica, high blood pressure or cervical problems.
Sarvangasana is an inverted pose thus anyone with cardiac problems, severe spinal issues or recently overcoming food intoxication should not practice this asana.
Also refered to as plough pose.
Halasana is a holistic asana that benefits many of the body’s system. However a healthy spine and neck is necessary.
This asana revitalises the spleen and suprarenal glands that promote the production of insuline in the pancreas. Liver and kidney function benefit from this pose. The diaphragm and thyroid are deeply compressed in this asana massaging the internal organs of the digestive system and endocrine system. It regulates the thyroid and the body’s metabolic rate.
Begin on your back. Legs and feet straight and engaged with the arms along side the body palms facing down. Deepen your breath and on an Inhale lift both legs up to 90 degrees, exhale and with the help of your hands pushing on your lower back, with the elbows bent pressing on the floor lift the hips up over your head and carefully extend both legs straight above the head.
Point the toes away from the head for an added challenge. Strive to remove the bend in the back of the knees. Keep the back as straight as possible.
If you know your legs wont reach the ground, use a chair to shorten the distance from the floor to rest the legs. Do not move the head in this pose under any circumstance.
To exit inhale to lift the legs, bending at the knees, exhale roll the back on to the floor without letting the head pop up. Move slowly and carefully. Use the whole exhalation to control the movement of your lower body. Your abdominal muscles and diaphragm must be engaged for a safe exit.
Breathing: Inhale to lift legs. Exhale to lift hips to enter pose. Inhale to lift legs. Exhale to lower hips to exit.
Chakra awareness: Manipura & Vishuddhi
!Do not attempt if you have a history of slipped discs, hernias, sciatica, high blood pressure or cervical problems.
Halasana is an invert’ed pose thus anyone with cardiac problems, severe spinal issues or recently overcoming food intoxication should not practice this asana.
Also known as Wheel Pose - Full Bridge Pose
This position is the most powerful extension of the spine possible.
It is also an inverted position.
The whole nervous system is in a position it would normally never have to deal with. A pivotal pose in yoga. The spine is completely stretched in the contrary daily tendencies it would normally preform. On a subtle level the flow of energy, and the activity in you nadis and chakras is flushed in the opposite direction, revitalizing the midline of your body and throughout. Which is why in a way the nervous system is actually being stretched. In the Yoga Upanishads Chakrasana is used for opening or awakening the chakras. The word chakra in sanskrit means wheel , spinning turning.
Breathing in this asana removes habitual tensions from the three major diaphragms of the body: respiratory, perineum, and the third under the brain. Chakrasana is an integrating practice which has a powerful effect on the respiratory, digestive and uro-genital systems.
Lie on the back with the knees bent and the heels as close as possible to the hips. (You can extend your arms by your side making sure the heels meet the tips of the fingertips, or even the ankles reach the grasp of your hands). The feet can be wider than hip-width, approx 30cm. After positioning the feet correctly, place the palms of your hands on the floor under your shoulders as much as possible while keeping palms flat on the ground. The fingers pointing towards the body. Inhale to raise the body slowly while arching the back and using the force in your thighs to continue the lift. The head lifts last.
Strive to make the arms and legs as straight as possible, without locking the elbows nor tensing the glut muscles. Arch the back without arching the neck and overly stretching the throat, meaning the head should remain between the arms and not under the body, with the chin tuck in slightly for safety. Hold the asana for as long as comfortable relaxing the face, jaw and the breath. You can explore the flexibility of your back by lifting the heels up. And if your body allows it walk hands and feet closer together to deepen the bend and lift again the heels off the ground. Move slowly and mindfully.
To safely exit this asana, walk your feet away from the body if you walked them in towards the hands, tuck in your chin so you are gazing up at the ceiling, exhale, engaging abdominal muscles and slowly lower the body so the back of head rests on the floor, the chin still tucked in to protect the cervical spine, then lower the rest of the body to the floor.
Breathing: Inhale to lift body up. Exhale to lower. Use the full breath for the full movement. There exists an advanced breathing practice for this asana, only to be taught to students and practitioners who can master Chakrasana for 25 breaths of more, if this is of interest to you, contact me or book me for a lesson.
Chakra awareness: Manipura
Sequence: Only practice this asana once your have mastered preliminary back bending asana such as Setuasana. Complete the practice with a counter pose of forward bending such as Paschimotananasana, Janu Sirshasana, Straddle pose
! Not recommended for anyone with any current illness, weak writsts, weak back, osteoporosis, pregnant women.
The challenge in this asana is to lift the body up. It is not that it is due to weakness in the arms, rather it happens because the nervous system is not ready to into that pose. We loose our sense of position in space, which in physiological terms is called proprioception. We can know where our arm is in space; however to know where our body is in this position is difficult and therefore we lose our strength. It is not that the strength is not there. So many position that arches the back like setu asana is good for developing proprioception awareness. Arm strengthening practices may also help to raise the body such as Setuasana
Sirshasana is considered the greatest of all asanas because it directly stimulates the highest chakra, Sahasrara.
This asana has a great anti-gravity effect that improves your circulation and helps internal organs regain their efficiency. By increasing the flow of blood to the heart and therefore pressure too, it strengthens the muscles of the heart in turn strongly pumping blood back throughout the body. The Agni or the digestive fire also gets revitalised due to the inverse pressure of the body’s weight on the digestive organs. This helps in cleaning the intestines while releasing congested blood in the colon. Sirshasana rectifies many nervous and glandular disorders which in turn relieves anxiety and other psychological disturbance which form the root cause of many disorders such as asthma, hay fever, diabetes, and menopausal imbalance.
Begin in vajrasana calm the breath and calm the mind. Use a blanket or extra padding before placing the forearms and the head on the floor. The forearms are shoulder distance appart. If you are not sure cross your arms and make sure your fingers reach opposite elbows. Clasp the hands forming triangle with your forearms and place the back of your head in your hands. Your hands need to provide a firm support so the head does not roll backward.
Once you have set up your foundation lift your hips up and extend the legs forming a mountain with your body, find your Dhrishti beyond your feet. Breathe deep, focus and begin to walk your feet towards your face until your whole spine is stacked on top of your shoulders, and you feel the weight of your hips on your head. By this point there should be very little weight in your toes.
You can remain here and get used to the reversed weight and pressure on your upper body. When the mind is calm the breath is deep, inhale and lift your legs up bending at the knees, gradually raising the lower legs in a controlled movement. Fold the legs to reach your hips and the knees begin to face upward. Steady the gaze, the mind and the breath and on an exhale continue the motion raising the legs up feet flat to the ceiling and extend the legs gently with balance. Do not force nor strain in this pose, start by holding a few seconds to avoid falling out and instead learning to exit from the pose calmly.
Breathing: Inhale lift legs over hips, exhale to lower legs and body to the ground upon exit.
Chakra awareness: Sahasrara
Ayurveda detail: This asana is excellent for all doshas, particularly Kapha dominant individuals.
! Do not attempt if you have a history of thrombosis, slipped discs, hernias, sciatica, high blood pressure, suffering from constipation, glaucoma, inflammation of the ears, migraines, kidney or cervical problems. Sirshasana is an inverted pose thus anyone with cardiac problems, neck or spinal issues or recently overcoming food intoxication should not practice this asana. Not recommended during pregnancy and mensuration.