Friday, 15 March 2013

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Kapalbhati in Vajrasana - Blowing in Fixed Firm Pose - For Beginners

The usual problem in this exercise is coordination. Again, its like patting your head while rubbing your stomach. Pulling the stomach in while blowing out will at first seem contrary to what is natural.

Pretend there is a candle about a foot in front of you. Put one hand on your abdomen just above your waist, then vigorously blow that candle out. Did you feel the midsection move inward? Contracting the stomach muscles is the only way to force a strong enough gust of air out of your lungs to extinguish a candle. That exhalation, with the accompanying inward movement of the abdomen, is all you are being asked to do.

But oh, the comical gyrations your stomach will go through as it tries to more in the right direction at the right time. So to help things along, start with the stomach completely relaxed and hanging out. Come on, this is no beauty contest. Let every muscle go. You may have to push it out to get it to sag if you've dedicates your life to holding it in.

Now look down at your midsection so you can see when you're getting the proper coordination. Blow out the candle and watch it contrast. Don´t blow out another candle till it has returned to its extended state. Adjust your rhythm to about one exhalation per second - or the time it takes to move your ''bellows'' in and then to let it relax

The only other catch to the Blowing Exercise is that those stomach muscles are the only part of you that is supposed to move - no shoulders, arms, or lower back jumping in sympathy with the abdomen. You'll get the hang of it quickly enough. And you're forcing every last drop of carbon dioxide out of your lungs, making room for fresh oxygen and improving elasticity. Your body isn´t used to such good treatment!


This last breathing exercise strengthens all the abdominal organs and increases the circulation. It also makes the abdominal wall strong and trims the waistline.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Ardha-Matsyendrasana - Spine-Twisting Pose - For Beginners

First you may have difficulty wrestling the curious appendages you think of as legs into the position. Once into the position, the knee on the floor lifts slowly and steadily, the foot thrown  over that knee is carried along, and there you are - the Amazing Tumbling-Over-Backward Toy

The key is: the hips must stay flat on the floor to do this position properly. It's the only way to keep your weight forward. But you have, in all probability, already allowed the foot curled around by the side of the right buttock to creep under that buttock, thus tilting you slightly backward. So from the beginning, put that foot farther out to the side than you think you should, leaving a gap between the heel and the side of the right buttock of about three inches. Then press the buttock to the floor till it touches the heel, as opposed to bringing the heel up to meet the hip.

If you still have trouble, then simply rock forward and to the side, repeatedly forcing the right buttock closer to the left heel on each rock, until you stretch the necessary muscles and can touch comfortably.The second essential part of maintaining the proper weight distribution is to keep the knee on the floor. It must not raise. If you have both buttocks flat, it will be much easier to keep the knee down.

If you can't  get your left hand between the left knee and right ankle and still stay upright, grasp the left leg at any point where you are able - lower knee, shin - even the towel you are sitting on if necessary. You may also use the right hand to prop yourself up, lifting it to reach around toward the left thigh only when you have sufficient balance.

You'll feel even more like a backward-tumbling toy at this point, but if you're done your groundwork properly you can fight the tendency. And in a surprisingly short time your muscles will strengthen and balance won't be a problem. You can then devote yourself to twisting with full gusto. Normal breathing helps the twisting no end. On each exhalation, twist around just a fraction more. Exhale loudly, that helps, too. For opposition in the twists, use that straight left arm to press your knee farther father backward as you twist more and more to the right. And if you can reach all the way around to grasp the opposite thigh, really take hold of it and use it to pull yourself around.


The Spine Twisting Pose is the only exercise that twists the spine from top to bottom at the same time. As a result, it increases circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves spinal elasticity and flexibility and the flexibility of the hip joints.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana - Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose - For beginners

Some people's legs don't seem to bend this way at first. Just do your best. Soon you'll discover what ''inflexibility'' really means.

The first fact that will strike most of you is that either your arms are too short or your legs are too long. Whichever it is, wiggling or no wiggling, you cannot reach your toes. You probably think we are insane thinking that you could reach your toes without bending your legs. The fact that Ruth seems to be able to do it makes no difference whatsoever to you. So, as any level-headed person would do, you bend the knee of your extended right leg upward until you can grasp the toes.

Remember Standing Head to Knee Pose? Well, as with that pose, kicking forward through the heel while pulling the toes back toward you, causing the leg to bow downward, is exactly what you are going to do here. The nice thing about the sitting version of the Standing Head to Knee pose is that you don't have to balance on one leg!

Take hold of those toes and pull back on them with all your strength until the heel lifts. Your sciatic nerve will no doubt complain loudly, but you'll get the feel of the ultimate pose. As a bonus, you'll notice that your leg straightens out more than you thought it could. Don't forget to use your forehead to push the knee down a little by little, make sure you're bending your elbows toward the floor, and have faith. Pretty soon you'll be doing the pose with your leg straight.

The inequality of your sides will be very apparent here. The left will either be much more difficult or much easier.

Now you see how important the sit-ups are. A sit-up done correctly is half the battle won. Which ought to take the boogeyman out of the pose. You'll notice, of course, that this is really a wee bit harder than a normal sit-up. In the sit-up you dart down for the touch and hold it for few seconds, but in the Stretching Pose you must stay there for twenty seconds.

As a beginner, it will probably be impossible for you to touch your elbows to the floor and lay your body out along your straight legs - much less touch your forehead to your toes. Let's be realistic: bending the legs will help some. Then pull hard on the toes while releasing them back toward you and pushing toward the mirror through the heels. Put your forehead to your bent knees and try to straighten then downward. Make it pull behind the knees.You must stretch those sciatic nerves!

There are many ways to attach both parts of this pose, many tricks to use to limber yourself and hasten flexibility. Play around with it. Don't be afraid, you won't hurt yourself. At any spare moment, get yourself warmed up, then start making your rocking dives toe-ward. Try lifting your heels, try reaching with your forehead. And remember to wiggle your hips and get your weight forward. Go for it, and you will make astounding strides.


The Head to Knee Pose helps to balance the blood sugar levels. It improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerves, ankles, knees, and hip joints; improves digestion; enhances the proper functioning of the kidneys; and expands the solar plexus. The Stretching Pose relieves chronic diarrhea by improving the circulation of the bowels. It also increases circulation to the liver and spleen and improves digestion.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Sasangasana - Rabbit Pose - For Beginners

It is absolutely essential, for reasons that will be explained, that your grip is secure in this pose. To help you hold the heels securely ( they can be very slippery) fold the edges of your towel over your heels and grasp the heels and the towel together.

This is a problem for most , but if you bend forward as you grip the heels, rather than sittings straight-spined like Herb, you´ll find you are already halfway there. You have only to tuck that chin down into your chest and curl inward with a passion, as through reaching with the top of your head for the interior of a nautilus shell

Once you begin to lift the hips and pull hard with the arms, don´t let your hands slip off your heels. If you feel your hands slipping, immediately lower your hips and decrease the pull.

The secret to the whole pose is in the arms. You must pull with all your strength on the heels of both to do the posture fully and to keep your weight where it belongs. But should you lose your grip, you could do an unexpected somersault and get yourself a stiff neck. So hung on.

If you find you must walk the knees forward to meet your forehead, it shows that your back is not yet supple enough to stretch all the way. If you still cannot conquer the space between forehead and knees, time, patience , and persistence! If you feel dizzy the first day in this head-down position, you can hold it for ten seconds, then gradually work up to twenty. But the choked feeling in your throat is no reason to stop. In fact, the more choked the better.

The Rabbit is neither exhausting nor painful and doesn't require great body strength or agility. You therefore don't have many excuses to avoid buckling right down and performing it properly. The object of the pose is to stretch the spine out slowly - as through the vertebrae were beads strung on elastic - nourishing everything on the band and aligning it, and then to release the tension slowly and let it all come together again. When stretched in a full Rabbit, it is not unusual for a spine to measure fourteen inches longer than usual.  

A camel and a Rabbit a day generally keep the chiropractor away.


The Rabbit produces the opposite effect of the Camel, giving maximum longitudinal extension of the spine. As a result, it stretches the spine to permit the nervous system to receive proper nutrition. It also maintains the mobility and elasticity of the spin and back muscles. The Rabbit improves digestion and helps to cure colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsilitis. And it has a wonderful effect on thyroid and parathyroid glands. The Pose improves the flexibility of the scapula and the trapezius and helps children reach their full growth potential.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Ustrasana - Camel Pose - For Beginners

If it´s more comfortable for your knees to be a little farther apart, that´s okey. But keep your feet only six inches apart.

Bending backwards is sometimes tough for beginners. But those hands are on the backs of the hips for a reason - for support. So use them. And drop the head back completely.

The first day you will probably not be able to go any farther than gripping both heels. But it' s a good beginning done correctly, so be patient with yourself
One Good thing about triangle of pig iron you will resemble is that you can' t get any worse.
And so.. concentrate on the area from the top of your thighs to your waistline. Push it up and forward with everything you got! Exhale and push harder. That mid-section will eventually begin to seem like an accordion, stretching with each exhalation.
When you have pushed forward as far as you can go that day, then change your focus of attention to the small of the back and try to release those tensed muscles. I say "try" because everyone is so convinced that he or she is going to break, that all the muscles fight the relaxation which must happen in that spot to enable the upper body to arch backward fully.
The day you finally gather your nerve and let the back release, the elation of feeling your body gracefully over will more than compensate for any discomfort.
Once you begin to get a good forward push, take care not to "cheat" by letting your hands creep upward off the heels. Keep your fingers well down into the insteps, grasping the heels fully and firmly.

The Camel stretches the abdominal organs to the maximum and cures constipation. It also stretches the throat, thyroid gland and parathyroids. Like the Bow Pose, it opens a narrow rib cage to give more space to the lungs. And because it produces maximum compression of the spine, it improves the flexibility of the neck and spine and relieves backache. It also firms and slims the abdomen and the waistline.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Ardha-Kurmasana - Half Tortoise Pose - For Beginners

Those of you who had difficulty doing this in the Fixed Firm will have the same problem with the Half Tortoise - a gap between buttocks and heels. As suggested before, take every opportunity that presents itself to get down on your knees and bounce gently to stretch out your atrophied muscles, joints, and tendons. For the moment, however, sit down as far as you can and concentrate on keeping a downward pressure on your buttocks throughout the posture.

Half the benefit of this stretch comes from keeping your arms locked and touching ears as you bend forward  in the next step. So, make sure you don´t drop your steeple.

The Half Tortoise feels like pure Heaven after the Purgatory of the Fixed Firm. Not that the Half Tortoise is simple, which fact you will grasp the moment you find that no way will your buttocks stay touching your feels as you bend forward. In all likelihood, the gap will be just as large once you get your forehead on the floor. Even Jeff still has an inch to go.

Next, you'll discover that you probably don´t have enough spine strength to go all the way down with a perfectly straight spine. Resurrecting those crocodiles you met in the Balancing Stick in Chapter will help; they´re just where your face and hands will touch the towel. So it behooves you to go down slo-o-o-o-wly and to keep your face and hands off the towel till they absolutely must touch.

Not only will this slow stretch rapidly strengthen your back muscles and keep your spine as straight as possible at your particular point of development, but it will also keep your buttocks in contact with your heels longer. You'll learn that exact point to gauge your progress with each passing day.

To get the best stretch with your steeple, as the sides of your hands touch the towel, slide them forward. When they won´t slide any more, then walk them forward with side-to-side, rocking-crawling movements, until your arms and shoulders are stretched to what seems the breaking point. Then lower your forehead to the towel - and relax. Because relaxation is the aim of the posture,  it works magic on tense neck and shoulders.

It is east to have buttock-to-heel contact by buckling in the middle as you lift up. It is not easy to keep that contact when you come up like one solid chunk of steel from fingertips to tailbone - but that is the correct method. And the only way you are going to do it is as slowly as a pregnant snail.You must generate a tremendous amount of lift in your hands and arms and back muscles and keep that lift going all the way or the arms will sad and you will buckle. When done properly your whole spine, from top to bottom, will be working and strengthening. You´ll feel it every step of the way, and it will be very satisfying.


The Half Tortoise provides maximum relaxation. It cures indigestion and stretches the lower part of the lungs, increasing blood circulation to the brain. It firms the abdomen and thighs. And it increases the flexibility of hip joints, scapula, deltoids, triceps, and latissimus dorsi muscles.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.