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Yoga Poses

"I see all gods within your body."
Bhagavad Gita


Yoga provides balance for body and mind. If you are lethargic or depressed, it will invigorate you. If you are frenetic or distressed, it will calm you.

Before You Begin

  • Wait 4-5 hours after a heavy meal or 2-3 hours after a light snack before practicing.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day - especially 1-2 hours before practice and again after practice.
  • Wear comfortable, light clothing.
  • Practice in bare feet.
  • Do the poses on a non-slip floor or mat.

This routine is intended for people in generally good health. As with any other fitness program, please consult your health care provider if it is suitable for your specific needs. If you have a medical condition (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, post-operative conditions), be especially cautious.

The suggestions given for how long to hold a pose are for a longer yoga session. If you are just beginning, let yourself gradually work up to longer sessions. If you don't have the time, simply spend less time on each pose. Even 10 minutes of yoga a day will improve your physical and mental well-being.

Begin with a feeling of calm. Be gentle with yourself. Do not push yourself physically nor judge yourself mentally. Remember to inhale and exhale through the nose. Read through the entire routine once before actually beginning.
   

Imagine that you are about to climb a mountain. Prepare yourself for the journey.

   
mountainpose

Mountain Pose

Stand erect with the feet together - big toes and heels touching. Straighten your knees, pull your shoulders back. Your arms hang comfortably at your sides with palms facing the body. Straighten your neck, slightly tuck in your chin, and relax your face.

Close your eyes and breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Note how your body feels. Relax areas with tension. Concentrate on your natural breath. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.

Slowly move your head from side to side, gently stretching your neck. Let go of all tension.

This pose improves posture as it tones the abdomen, buttocks, knees and thighs.

   
forward bend

Forward Stretch

Widen your stance. Line up your heels with your feet facing forward, or slightly turned in. Straighten your legs and tighten your thighs. Bend down and place your hands on the floor (if you cannot touch the floor, keep your legs straight and reach for it). Straighten your arms, keeping your legs strong. Pay attention to your breath. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.

   
Mountain Pose

Sun Salutation Series
Poses strengthen and stretch all major muscles and stimulate metabolism

Mountain Pose

In mountain pose place your hands in front of your heart in prayer position. Exhale. Inhale deeply as you extend your arms straight up over your head, hands together. Stretch up to the sky. Look up at your hands. Bend backwards slightly, looking back. Inhale & exhale as you hold this pose for 10-20 seconds.

   

Forward Bend

Exhale as your bend forward, tucking your head into your knees. Raise your hips. If you cannot keep your legs straight, bend the knees (bicycle your legs to feel the stretch). Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 1 minute.

Forward bends calm the brain and help relieve stress and mild depression. They also stimulate the liver and kidneys, stretch the hamstrings, calves, and hips as it tones your thighs and knees. If you have had a back injury, bend your knees.

   
sunstretch

Deep Lunge

Exhale and stand up straight. Step forward, and bend your right knee as you extend your left leg behind you. Place your hands on the floor on either side of your feet. Your right foot is directly below your right knee. Inhale and exhale, deepening the stretch with each inhalation. Hold the pose for 1 minute.

   
cobra

Plank Pose

Move your right leg back and straighten out your body. Tighten your buttocks. Hold yourself up on your hands and toes (like the start of a push up). Lift up your head. Keep your body strong and firm. Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 10-30 seconds.

Exhale. Slowly drop your body to the floor, knees first, then chest, keep your arms close to your sides. Straighten out your body.

Plank pose strengthens the arms and wrists and tones the abdomen. If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, do not hold pose for too long.

   

Up Dog

Inhale as you lift your trunk off the ground. Keep your hands flat on the floor. Lift your head, then lift your legs, tighten your buttocks. If this pose is too stressful on your lower back, keep your legs on the floor. Hold the pose for 1 minute, remembering to breathe.

This pose strengthens your buttocks, spine, wrists, arms and legs as it stretches your abdomen, chest and shoulders. It also improves your posture and helps to relieve mild depression, and fatigue. Be cautious if you suffer from a back injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.

   
downdog

Down Dog

Inhale and step your feet forward, hip width apart. Raise your hips. Push down with your arms, keeping your back straight and your head tucked in between your arms. Push your heels into the floor and straighten your legs (or bend slightly; bicycle your legs to feel the stretch). Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 1 minute.

This energizing pose reduces stress and calms the brain. It stretches out the shoulders, hamstrings and calves, as it builds muscle in your arms and legs. It also improves digestion, reduces back pain and fatigue. It is benefical for conditions such as high blood pressure, flat feet, sciatica, and sinusitis. Do not hold the pose for too long if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have high blood pressure be sure to support your head with a blanket.

   
sunstretch

Deep Lunge

Inhale. Move your left foot forward between your hands. Move your right leg back. Lift your head up. Be sure your left foot is directly under your left knee. Keep the leg bent at a right angle and your hips low. Inhale and exhale, feel the stretch. Hold the pose for 1 minute.

   

Forward Bend

Exhale and step forward with your right foot. Bend over, tucking your head into your knees. Raise your hips and straighten out your legs, if possible. If knees are bent, bicycle the legs to feel the stretch. Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 1 minute.

   

Mountain II

Inhale deeply as you stand up. Raise your arms up and over your head. Clasp your hands together, stretching to the sky. Bend backwards slightly, looking back. Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 30 seconds. Exhale as you return to mountain pose. Place your hands over your heart in prayer position. Close your eyes and notice how your body feels. Pay attention to your breath. When your breathing has returned to normal, proceed with calm.

   

Poses for Strength and to Stimulate Metabolism

Chair Pose

Now you are warmed up and have begun your ascent up the mountain.

Inhale and stretch your arms over your head. Straighten your elbows and stretch up. Bend your knees and push your hips back as if sitting down. Hold the pose for 1 minute as you inhale and exhale. Breathe in for strength. Stand up. Release your hips by shifting from side to side. Repeat the sequence, this time first standing up on your toes.

This pose strengthens your thighs, buttocks, ankles, calves, and spine as it stretches your shoulders and chest.

   
eagle

Eagle Pose

Standing hip width apart, focus attention on your left foot. Widen the toes on your left foot. Bend the left leg slightly. Bend the right leg and cross the right thigh over the left. Swing your right foot back and hook it around the left calf. Now entwine your arms, palms facing each other. Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 1 minute. As you inhale, sit further down until you reach your edge. Respect where your body is at.

Repeat on the other side.

   

Triangle Pose

Return to mountain pose. Inhale deeply as you widen your stance. Bring your arms to shoulder level, palms down. Line up your feet. Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot straight out. Exhale and move your trunk sideways to the right. Hold your right ankle (or shin) with the right hand. Extend your left arm straight up in line with the right arm. Turn your head and look up at your left hand. Keep the legs strong. Breathe in for strength. Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 1 minute.

Repeat on the other side.

Triangle Pose increases flexibility and strength in your thighs, hips, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine. It is a great stress reliever. If you have a history of heart problems, practice against a wall. If you suffer from hypertension or neck problems, look straight ahead or downward.

   

Triangle II

Return to mountain pose. Inhale deeply as you widen your stance. Bring your arms to shoulder level, palms down. Line up your feet. Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out. Exhale and step forward in a lunge. The lunge can be deep or shallow, depending on your flexibility today. Reach your left hand to your right foot (or ankle or shin). Turning your trunk, extend your right arm straight up in line with the left arm. Turn your head and look up at your right hand. Keep the legs strong. Breathe in for strength. Inhale and exhale as you hold the pose for 1 minute.

Repeat on the other side.

   
warrior warrior2

Warrior Pose

Return to mountain pose. When your breathing has slowed, inhale deeply as you widen your stance. Bring your arms to shoulder level, palms down. Line up your feet. Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot straight out to the side. Raise your hands over your head. Exhale and turn your trunk sideways to the right. Look up at your hands. Hold this pose for 1 minute as you inhale and exhale.

Now exhale and bend your right leg at a right angle. Keep your arms stretched up to the sky. Look up at your hands. Hold the pose for 1 minute, remembering to breathe.

Repeat on the other side.

Warrior Pose tones and stretches the legs, chest, and shoulders. It is beneficial for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, and osteoporosis. Do not hold for too long if you have high blood pressure. If your neck is uncomfortable, look straight ahead or down.

   
warrior2

Extended Warrior Pose

Return to mountain pose. When your breathing has returned to normal, inhale deeply as you widen your stance. Bring your arms to shoulder level, palms down. Line up your feet. Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot straight out to the side. Exhale and bend your right leg to a right angle. Arms out to the sides, bend your trunk to the right. Place your right hand on the ground next to your right foot (use a block or a book for support, if needed). Raise your left arm up over your head, then stretch it up at an angle to the right. Hold the pose for 1 minute, remembering to breathe.

Repeat on the other side.

   

Mountain Pose

You are almost to the top of the mountain. Return to mountain pose. Close your eyes, notice your breathing.

   
treepose

Tree Pose

You are at the top of the mountain. Widen your feet, hip width apart. Focus on your left foot, firmly plant it into the earth and imagine sending a root down. Spread your toes. Bring your right foot up to the inside of your left leg. Place it as high as possible. Place your hands over your heart in prayer position. When you have your balance, raise your hands over your head. Stretch up gently, palms together. Hold this pose for 1 minute. If you lose your balance, simply begin again. Repeat on the other side.

Repeat the pose once again on both sides. This time, place your foot in front of your leg as shown in the picture. If this is too difficult, repeat the first pose. Remember, trees sometimes sway in the wind.

Tree Pose strengthens thighs, calves and spine. It stretches your inner thighs, chest and shoulders as it improves balance. If you have high blood pressure, keep your hands in front of your heart in prayer position.

Now, it is time to begin our descent back down the mountain. Lie down in corpse pose, your arms at your side, palms up. Relax your whole body. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and focus on your breath.

   

Camel Pose

Kneel on the floor with your knees together. Place your hands on your heels for support. Inhale and lift your hips and face up. Push your hips forward. Open your chest and relax back as far as possible. Keep your hips forward. Exhale and inhale. Relax your face. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

This pose is good for spinal health and works your lower back muscles. It calms the central nervous system and releases tension. It also opens up your heart chakra and is a great counterbalance to the slouching we do during the day.

   
boatpose

Boat Pose

Lie on your back with your legs and feet together. Relax your arms by your sides, with the palms down. Exhale.

Inhale as you bring your legs up. Exhale and then inhale as you lift your head and trunk. Hold your arms out straight in front of you. Hold the pose, remembering to breathe, as long as possible. Stop and rest. Repeat twice.

This pose works the abdominals and thighs as it improves balance. It also promotes spinal health, stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands and is a stress reliever. If you have back problems, keep your back flat on the floor and hold your legs up at an angle.

   

Poses to Balance Thyroid and Curb Cravings

Prone Twist

Lie down in corpse pose. Focus on your natural breath. Stretch your arms out to the side. Lift up your legs and drop them to your left side. Stretch your right arm out and twist toward your right.

Repeat on the other side.

   
throatlock

Throat Lock

Only try a shoulder stand if you have first done so with a qualified instructor. If you do, be careful to rest on your shoulders, not your neck. Hold your hands close to your should blades for support as you gently invert your legs.

If you are unfamiliar with shoulder stands or have lower back problems, do this pose with your entire back flat on the ground and your legs inverted (you can also do this up against a wall with your buttocks and legs touching the wall). Bring your chin to your chest, the tight feeling in your throat is the called a throat lock. Hold this pose for 2-4 minutes.

The throat lock regulates the thyroid and endocrine glands, helps to curb cravings, controls the appetite, and strengthens the neck (no double chins). Shoulderstands tone the legs and buttocks, calm the brain and help relieve stress and mild depression.

Avoid inverted postures during menstruation.

Now lie on your back and pull your left leg into your chest. Extend your right leg out. Lift your head off the floor and bring your chin to your chest, so that it is tight. Look at your knee, breathing in and out for 30-60 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Hug both knees to your chest, locking the throat. Inhale and exhale. Release. Lie quietly with eyes closed for 1-2 minutes.

   

Simple Twist

Sit with your legs bent to the right side of your body. Extend your spine up. Turn to the left. Place your right hand on your left knee. Bend your right arm back, bring your elbow in and catch the left arm behind the back, above the elbow. Turn your trunk as far as you can, looking behind you. Hold this pose for 1 minute, remember to breathe.

Repeat on the other side.

Gently twisting the spine stimulates your metabolism and increases spinal health and flexibility. It also stimulates the liver and kidneys. If you suffer from a back or spinal injury perform twists only with the supervision of an experienced teacher.

   

Simple Twist II

Sit erect with both legs straight out in front of you. Bend the left knee up and bring the foot in close to right thigh (close into the body). Keep the right leg extended. Turn to the left and bring your right arm in front of the left knee. Place your left hand beside your left hip.

Bring your left arm behind your body and clasp your hands together. Turn your head to the left. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Inhale and exhale. Inhale as you deepen the stretch.

Repeat on the other side.

   

Poses for Stretching and Relaxation

Forward Stretch

Sit erect with your legs extended. Lean forward over your legs, pressing your chest to your legs if possible. Hold your feet, ankles or shins, keeping legs straight, if possible. If your knees are bent, bicycle your legs to feel the stretch more deeply. Hold the pose for 1-2 minutes.

   

Deep Stretch

Sit with back erect and legs extended. Widen your legs and lean down toward the floor. Reach for your toes. Hold as you inhale and exhale.

   

Butterfly

Sit erect with feet together, knees out. Gently lean forward. Inhale and exhale, feeling the stretch. Hold the pose for 2-3 minutes. May alternate legs with one leg extended.

   

Hero Pose

Kneel with knees together and feet apart. Sit between the legs, on blankets if needed. Stretch your trunk up and sit erect. Pull the shoulders back and rest your hands on your knees. Hold this pose for 1-2 minutes. If you have problems with your knees, place a piece of cloth behind the knees.

This pose reduces stiffness in hips, knees, and ankles and relieves bloating.

Straighten your legs.

   

Reclining Hero Pose

Sit in Hero Pose. Place your hands on the floor behind you to support yourself. Lean back and lie down. If possible, lay all the way down. Extend your arms over your head, stretching your trunk. Hold for 2-4 minutes. Carefully sit up, using your hands to support yourself.

   
stretch5

Forward Stretch II

Sit erect with legs extended. Inhale as you bend forward and grab your toes. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.

This pose calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. It also stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings. Traditional texts say forward stretches reduce obesity.

Cross bended knees over one another. Bend over and feel the stretch. Repeat on other side. This stretch is good for the hips.

Go into child's pose. Bend over and stretch your arms out. Relax all the muscles in your body. Release.

Corpse Pose

Lie down. Tighten your buttocks and release. Let your arms rest comfortably at your sides, palms up. Your feet are slightly open. Relax your whole body. Focus first on your feet and move your attention slowly up your entire body. Note any tension in your body and release it. Lay in calm silence for 5 minutes. As your thoughts drift, focus your attention on your breath.

Corpse pose calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. It also reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia and lowers blood pressure. If you have a back injury, bend your knees.

   

Lotus Pose

Keep your eyes close, carefully bring yourself to a seated position. Note how your body feels.

Lotus Pose calms the brain, stimulates the pelvis, spine, abdomen and stretches the ankles and knees.

   

Thank Yourself

You have taken time to care for your body and focus on your breath. You have created an open space within yourself. Now fill that space with compassion and love for yourself.



Continue through your day with peace and love. Namaste.


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