Basic postures of hatha yoga: a detailed description of asanas
Hatha yoga is the best practice for those who want to learn how to feel their body, to manage and support it in the desired form.
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Before independently learning the basic yoga postures, we recommend subscribing and viewing our free video tutorials on the basics of yoga. Since hatha yoga consists of bodily and respiratory practice, great attention is paid at this level to asanas – the poses that must be taken to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Initially, it is worth remembering just a couple of simple rules:
- To master the asana follows from the simplest variations;
- During the exercise, slight discomfort or tension is possible, but not severe pain;
- To change one asana to another follows smoothly, avoiding sudden movements;
- Breathing should be smooth and calm, unless otherwise provided by the rules for the performance of a particular posture.
In advance you need to take care of the place of practice: to find an elastic and soft mat, to pick up light, non-stiffening clothes and to exclude any distractions. After a little warm-up, you can begin to master the asanas: from simple to very difficult.
Simple standing asanas
Tadasana is included in the easiest and most basic stands in hatha yoga . It is carried out as simply as possible: the legs are near, the weight of the body is in the middle of the feet. It is necessary to tighten the abdomen, strain the buttocks and spread the rib cage. It’s important not to strain your neck or lift your shoulders. Look straight, hands are lowered down, fingers together. Breathing should be quiet throughout the entire asanas – 30 seconds. This posture improves posture and relieves fatigue from the nervous system.
Padangustasana (incline forward), exit from Tadasana. On exhalation it is necessary to gradually lower the straight backbone forward to the parallel with the floor. Hold for a couple of seconds, then sink even lower, reaching for the toes. If the stretching at this stage does not allow you to perform Padungastasana in full amplitude, then you need to stay for 15-20 seconds in the position that is now acceptable.
Complicated standing poses
Utthita Trikonasana appears in the pose of the triangle . Being in Tadasan, you need to change the position with the help of a jump so that the legs are wider than the shoulders, and the hands were directed to the sides. Gradually, you should deploy the stops to the right side and bend to the right so that the left hand is on the outside of the foot. The view should be directed to the thumb of the right hand. It is important that a straight line should pass from the left hand to the right. Be sure to repeat the asana and on the left side.
Uttchita Trikonasana II is performed from the same initial position – legs apart, arms to the sides . But it’s right to lean forward. After reaching the parallel with the floor, you need to point your right hand down and lean on the palm of your hand. Then raise your left hand up, pointing after her. It is important to withstand a straight line of hands and not round your back.
Poses of a warrior: maximum complexity
Virabhadrasana I in hatha yoga is also performed from Tadasana . Hands need to be lifted up, after which you can close your hands over your head. Legs divide by 120-130 cm, which from the side resembles a classic attack. The angle between the knee should be straight, and the right thigh parallel to the floor. The left foot can be slightly turned to the right. The direction of the right foot should be deployed face, chest and knee. The head is thrown back, and the sight is directed upwards.
Virabhadrasana II is very similar to variation I, but hands are not erected upwards, but are directed to the sides . From Tadasana need to stand in the rack, where the legs are wider than the shoulders. Then turn the stops to the left side and lower the left knee until the thigh parallel to the floor. The body remains straight, but the view is directed to the left by the left hand. The palms are looking down. It is important to maintain a flat back, keep your belly tight and buttocks tight.
Yoga includes Virabhadrasanu III, which is achieved from Virabhadrasany I . To perform the exercise, you need to lower your chest to the hip of the front leg so that your arms are parallel to the floor. Then gradually tear off the left foot from the floor, transferring the weight to the right. The knee of the supporting leg should be slowly unbent until the leg becomes even. It is enough to hold the pose for 30 seconds. When performing the pose of a warrior, you need to repeat the exercise on both sides.
Subtlety of Virabhadrasana
It is easier to balance the warrior’s pose if the weight is evenly distributed on the feet. Taking the third position, you can imagine how something stretches the body by the arms and leg, which is on weight. If the asanu is hampered by back pain, then the exercise should be practiced in a more relaxed version, leaning with your hands on the knee or the floor.
The pose of a warrior in any of its variations strengthens the muscles of the abdominal cavity and thighs, helps to adjust the balance and make it more stable to the loins. Also, the mobility of the joints develops, which is useful for those who are fond of various types of physical activity. Virabhadrasana strengthens the popliteal muscles and allows you to recover faster after injuries in the joint.
One of the simplest balances in yoga is the pose of the chair . While in Tadasan, hands should be erected over your head, and then slowly lower your pelvis back, bending your knees. Bending the knees in a blunt angle, the body should be tilted forward, reaching for the hands. This is the final part of the exercise, in which you need to be up to 40 seconds.
In general, yoga and balances develop a sense of balance, are taught to focus and relax even in body-uncomfortable poses. In addition, balancing on one leg develops musculature and helps strengthen the muscular corset. The easiest way to do the balance is when the look is directed at a fixed point below. The most difficult option is to be in balance with your eyes closed. An intermediate step can be a direct look ahead.
Classic balances on one leg
Vrksasana, otherwise known as the pose of a tree in hatha yoga, has two variations . To perform the first one, it is necessary to take Tadasana and pull up a leg bent in the knee to the abdomen. The supporting foot should look straight ahead, and the knee should remain straight. Embracing the knee of the working leg, it is worth keeping the pose up to 30-40 seconds. Exercise favorably affects the knee joint, coordination and work of the intestine.
A more complex variation of Vrikshasa is performed from the same initial position . But now the working leg should be deployed to the side and, lifting it up, pull the foot as close to the perineum as possible. If the leg slides off the inside of the thigh, then it can be supported by hand. Otherwise, the straight arms are erected upwards, and the palms are closed. Asana is performed on both sides. It is preferable to start with a leg that is worse than keeping the balance.
Complex balances on one leg
Utthita Hasta Padagushthasana begins with Tadasana . The right leg, like in Vrikshasana I, needs to be pulled to itself, clasping his thumb with his hands. On an exhalation it is necessary to straighten a knee gradually. The supporting leg should also remain straight. At runtime, it is important to keep the press tight and the back straight. But you can not round your lower back so as not to hurt your back. A detailed description of the pose allows you to perform it as faithfully as possible.
Utthita Hasta Padagushthasana II is also performed, but before performing it is necessary to open the hip joint . The leg is straightened not in front of him, but as much as possible to the side. If you can not hold the balance, you can straighten the opposite hand. If it is still difficult, then you can rest your foot against the wall, but your hands should be raised above your head. There is also another problem in becoming a pose – stretching does not allow straightening the leg. It is worth using straps, a towel to grip your feet or hold your foot with both hands, but under the knee cap.
Balance on hands
To increase the strength of the hands, you need to regularly perform push-ups from the floor. In hatha yoga, women often practice push-ups with the support of the knees. After the strength of the hands is sufficiently developed, you can proceed to the asanas.
Bakasana is known as the pose of a crane . First you need to squat and place your palms on the floor in front of you. Gradually shifting the weight of the body on your hands, you should lift the pelvis, spread the knees and shins to the sides with your shoulders. Then you need to gently tear off one foot. When this becomes easy, it’s time to transfer weight to your hands completely and tear off both legs from the floor. The middle of the back should be pulled upwards, behind the back of the pelvis, and behind the pelvis and legs. You can complicate the task if you try to straighten your arms in the elbows.
Chaturanga Dandasana is another uncomplicated variation of the balance on the hands that should be performed to increase strength . The starting position is the well-known bar. Then the arms must be bent so that the forearms are parallel to the floor, and the whole body is a straight line. If it is difficult to keep this position, the knees fall to the floor.
Tilting forward standing
Adho Mukha Shvanasana is otherwise known as a dog snouting down . A pose begins with Tadasana and the subsequent Padangustasana. Then you need to take turns one step at a time until the maximum tension in the legs. It is important that the knees remain straight. The feet need to be slightly deployed. Thus, the arms and back form an ascending straight line, and the legs – a descending line. The tight belly and the direction of the coccyx up will make the pose true in execution.
Prasarita Padatratasana assumes the same slope as Padangustasana, but with a wide legstand . So, you need to get up in Tadasana, jump out with your feet wider than your shoulders, turn your heels slightly outward and make a slope of the even back forward. If the stretching allows, then hands need to grab the ankles. Otherwise, the yogi does not suffer pain: the arms should be bent in the elbows, and the hands should be put on the forearms to make it easier, and already in such a position to drag down. This position is necessary for stretching the legs and spine.
Simple sitting posture
Sukhasana is one of the easiest exercises in yoga . It is easy to carry out: you have to cross your legs in front of you, and straight up to reach the straight. After making several breathing cycles, hands can be lowered, briefly relaxed and repeat asana, replacing the cross-leg. Stambhasana is a slightly complicated option. It is necessary not just to cross your legs, but to put one shin on the other, as much as possible pressing your lower leg to the floor. Put your hands on your knees. Ideal pose for performing mantras and meditation.
The virassana is performed in such a way: one must kneel, legs slightly wider than shoulders . Put your hands on your knees. Then you need to slowly lower the pelvis between the feet, keeping your back straight. Padmasana is performed similarly to Sukhasana , but the legs are not simply crossed, but are placed as close to the groin as possible. Gomukhasana – the pose of a cow’s head . To begin with, you need to sit down exactly, with your right foot sliding under your left knee. The left hip should be placed on the right shin, and the left leg should be placed next to the right thigh. The right hand to lift up and, bent at the elbow, to lock into the lock with the left hand. The back should be kept even.
Badhakanasana is a sitting butterfly pose . You need to sit up straight, feet together, your knees pointing to the side. Hands can help the knees and, with a slight pressure, press them to the floor, if stretch allows. Badha Padmasana is a complicated option : the legs need to be crossed, as in Stambhasana, and reach out with their opposite hands to their feet behind their backs.
The twists of sitting
Marichiasana – a pose, named after the Indian sage . To repeat the pose, you need to sit flat with straight legs. Then pull up your left leg and grab with your left hand from the inside, making a twist to the right. For a short while to stay in this position, then with a flat back to fall on a straight leg, stretching his chin to his knee. This position is held for up to one minute. Twists are easier to perform if you see a pose, clearly depicted in the pictures.
Marichiasana II is performed from the same initial position , but this time the thigh of the bent leg is caught by the opposite arm from the outside, and the hands are linked behind the back.
Performing breathing cycles, you need to more and more curl in the direction of exhalation and hold position on the inspiration. Since Marichiçana can be difficult for a beginner, you can simplify it a bit: in the first variant, do not do hand grabbing, but rest against them on the floor, and in the second – do a hand grip on a straight leg. After performing twisting in one direction, it is worth repeating the exercise in another.
Pashchimotanasana is known to everyone who has ever been engaged in stretching . The starting position is a straight back and even legs extended forward. When inhaling, hands should be pulled upwards, and on exhalation smoothly they should be lowered forward, having executed capture of stops. It is important to keep the straight back, stretching it from the vertebra to the vertebra. With each exhalation, you should drop a little lower. In this case, one should not forget about even knees and a straight back: it is necessary to lower oneself to the feet first of all by the lower part of the abdomen. The position is held for 30-40 seconds in the lowest possible slope.
Jan Shirshasan reminds the previous asana, but in practice it is easier . From the initial position (sitting with elongated legs), you need to pull up your right leg to yourself, leading your knee to the side, and resting your foot against your hip. Then, on inhalation, stretch upward, on exhalation – to descend forward, carrying out the grasping of the feet of a straight leg with hands. Here you need to monitor the stretch: you can not overcome severe pain, because the permissible discomfort should be barely perceptible. Gradually, with every minute of being in the pose it will become easier and easier to perform the correct inclination with an even back. After performing on the right leg, repeat the exercise for the left leg.
Three difficulty levels of Navasana
Navasana is otherwise referred to as the pose of a boat . To do this, you must sit with a straight back and grab your hands behind the popliteal cups. After this, keeping the balance, you need to tear your feet off the floor and pull your legs up so that the shins are parallel to the floor. Hands should also be straightened next to their legs, stretching forwards. When you hold this position will be easy, you need to lean your hands slightly on the floor and straighten your legs. It is important to watch, that the bottom of a stomach or belly did not come off from femurs, and the back remained equal.
The third level of complexity in Navasan involves straightening the hands to their parallel to the floor . During the posture, balance should be maintained. And the support should be on the ischium, and not the coccyx. Beginners can not lift their legs too high, but for those whose body allows for a more complex option, you should maximally press your hips to the bottom of your abdomen, leaving your back perpendicular to the floor. Relax the body after performing Navasana in Sukhkhasan.
Basic postures of lying
Shavasana is included in the easiest and most famous asanas in yoga . The posture of the corpse usually completes the occupation of hatha yoga – you have to lie on your back, hands at a comfortable distance from the body, the muscles are relaxed, and your eyes are closed. However, in the middle of the session you should practice other asanas, which are performed lying down.
The simplest of them is Supta Padangushthasana . In the prone position you need to pull the knee to the stomach and grab the foot with your hands. On exhalation the leg straightens, the heel looks clearly upward. After holding this position, one hand should be released, and the leg should be taken to the side, keeping the knee straight. The view is directed to the opposite side of the foot. If there is a lack of stretching, a belt is used.
Matsiasana – a posture that develops the flexibility of the spine . In the supine position, legs together, you need to rest your elbows on the floor, gradually tearing your back off the floor. The vertex does not come off the surface, but the weight of the body is transferred not to the head, but to the elbows and feet. With each exhalation you need to open your chest more and stretch your back up. Even if the deflections have a detailed description, it is better to do them under the supervision of the instructor, so as not to harm the spine.
The first lying laying is carried out as follows : you need to lie on your back, pull your knee, clasping it with your hands, and then lower it to the floor near the opposite leg. Hands are directed to the sides, and the head is deployed in the opposite direction from the knee. In this position, you can stay for a few minutes, after which you should change your foot. It is important that the buttocks, waist and shoulders should not detach from the rug.
Simple inverted poses
Usually the inverted poses are left at the end of the session, because the body is already warmed up and the risk of injury is minimal. At the end of the lesson, the person will master the body as much as possible and control the muscles, which makes it easier to learn more complex asanas of hatha yoga. In general, inverted poses are useful for the human body. They help to relax after a day’s work and get enough energy if done in the morning.
Mastering inverted poses should start with Sarvangasana – candle poses . To do this, lie on your back and press it against the abdomen of your hip. After several rolls on the back, you need to lower your palms on your lower back and gradually straighten your legs up, resting on your elbows and upper back. The neck should be maximally unloaded during the entire asana – one minute.
From Sarvangasana advanced yogas pass to Halasana – the plow position . Straightened legs should be lowered behind the head, and hands stretched behind the back. In this case, the fingers should be twisted together and turned outward. Again, the main load should be on the shoulder joints, and not on the neck. Keep your back straight. You can take Halasan from lying down position, when your knees are pressed to your chest. After performing several rolls, you need to lift your legs behind your head and straighten it. At first, you can rest against the wall with your feet, eventually dropping lower and lower.
Salamba Shirshasana is performed in hatha yoga, but necessarily requires the presence of an instructor . Independently it can also be mastered, but only after long training and to achieve a high level of physical fitness. To begin with, it is worth to kneel and elbows, grasping the latter with your hands. Then release your hands and twist your fingers together. Head to put on the floor, and legs straighten in the knees, resting only on the socks and elbows. Stretching the coccyx up, you need to bring the feet closer to the head, pressing the hips to the stomach.
When this position is given easily, you can proceed to the next stage – to tear off the legs from the floor and bend them to the body. Shoulders go as far as possible from the head, and the main emphasis is on the elbows. Over time, this stage becomes more complicated – the legs can be straightened at the knees, pointing them upwards. At first, it is enough to hold this position for only a few breathing cycles. Over time, the headstand can be extended to 7-10 minutes. Learn Salamba Shirshasane can be by the wall – this will greatly facilitate the process.
Salutation to the sun (Surya Namaskar) is a complex of asanas, which can be performed as a warm-up before class or morning exercises after awakening.
For lovers of evening hatha yoga, a set of asanas is available. Greeting the Moon (Chandra Namaskara), which should be performed in the evening or as a good warm-up.