- Practice What You Teach: Keeping Teaching Real through the Evolution of Your Personal Practice
- It's All in the Hips, Or Is It?
- Day or Night? Body and Mind Considerations for Scheduling Your Yoga Practice
- This Yoga Love Affair (Part Two): Making it Last a Lifetime
- This Yoga Love Affair: A Collage of Views on How to Keep Your Yoga Practice Sustainable Over One Year
- To Be Thankful Without Grasping and Real Without Apologizing
- When Burnout Knocks: The Struggle of Keeping Teaching Healthy, Honest, and Vibrant
- Living Yoga Off The Mat
- Tuning Up Mind and Body: How Yoga and Sound Therapy Work in Harmony
- Making It to the Mat: What Yoga Teachers Need to Know About the Most Difficult Part of the Practice
Benefits of Asana
This article shares each yoga pose (asana) revealing their Sanskrit name, explaining the vast physical/mental benefits, and discussing the cautions and contraindications. Hopefully at the end of this article, you will find the one most beneficial to you and use the various yoga asanas to your advantage.
Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
This pose develops the flexibility of the hips and groins in preparation for meditation. This asana gives one the following benefits:
- Knees, inner thighs and groins are strengthened and flexibility is improved;
- Helps in lessening discomfort in menstruation and complaints in digestion;
- Abdominal organs are stimulated thereby helping in the enhancement of the ovary’s health, kidneys, prostate gland, and bladder;
- Fatigue is alleviated;
- Relieves sciatica with the opening up of the lower back; and,
- Helps in relieving guilt and sexual inhibitions with the opening up of the groin area.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
It’s called the Bow because the pose looks like a bow of an archer. The arms represent the string while the torso and legs looks like the body of the bow.
One of the emphasis and major benefit of this pose is the relief of back pain. The goal is to improve the flexibility and strength of the back. Aside from strengthening and stretching the back, other benefits include:
- Stretching the chest, abdomen, throat, deep hip flexors, thighs, ankles, groins, as well as the entire front of the body;
- Posture is improved; and,
- Neck and organs of the abdomen are stimulated.
Camel Pose (Usthasana)
This pose focuses on the different anatomical parts of the body like the ankles, groins, belly, thighs, spine, chest, shoulders, and neck. This is also a good therapeutic application for anxiety, fatigue, menstrual discomfort, mild backache, and respiratory ailments. Caution should be given to those with high or low blood pressure, insomnia, migraine, and serious injury in the back or neck.
This will benefit an individual in various ways:
- The entire front of the body including the thighs, ankles, groins, and deep hips will be stretched;
- Back muscles will be strengthened;
- Neck and organs of the abdomen will be stimulated; and,
- Posture will be improved.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
The concentration of this pose is on the thighs. Performing this pose will stretch the chest and shoulders. This pose is also a good therapy for those who have flat feet as it reduces it. People with headache, low blood pressure and insomnia should avoid doing this pose.
This pose can give benefits such as the following:
- Spine, calves, ankles and thighs will be strengthened; and,
- Diaphragm, heart, and abdominal organs will be stimulated.
Child Pose (Balasana)
This is classified as a resting pose. A very basic but beneficial pose that will help one obtain the following benefits:
- Ankles, thighs, hips, spine are gently stretched;
- Back pain and stiffness are relieved; and,
- Muscles are strengthened.
►Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The Cobra word is derived from the Sanskrit word Bhujanga which means serpent or snake. This is a good therapy for asthmatic people. This pose should not be practiced by people with back injury, headache, carpal tunnel syndrome or pregnant women.
A variety of benefits can be obtained from this pose.
- Spine, chest and lungs, abdomen, and shoulders are stretched and strengthened;
- Buttocks are firmed up;
- Abdominal organs are stimulated;
- Stress is relieved;
- Hearts and lungs are opened up;
- Sciatica is alleviated
Crane Pose (Bakasana)
This asana is not recommended for pregnant women and for those who have carpal tunnel syndrome. The benefits include the following:
- Stretching and strengthening the wrists, arms, and upper back;
- Tones up the abdominal organs; and,
- Opens up the groins.
►Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is one of the most basic and popular Yoga pose. The type of this pose is classified as Mild Inversion, Resting, and Standing. This is a transitional pose and it looks like an inverted V. Focus is on knees, thighs, chest, shoulders, hips, abdomen, and groins.
Everyone would encounter this pose even those who are starting out in Yoga. For those in the advance level and flexible enough already then you can enhance this pose by sinking the spine and drawing the ribs in. Hold the pose for five more minutes to maximize the benefit of this pose. Forewarned is given to those people with tight thighs or hips and those with injuries on ankle, knee, or sacroiliac.
The benefit of this pose is more of stretching and strengthening the whole body especially the back which helps relieve the back pain. This is a good therapy for people with urinary disorders. Other several benefits are listed below:
- Deep hip, groins, thighs, abdomen, neck, chest and shoulders will be stretched;
- Chest and shoulders will be opened; and,
- Abdominal organs will be stimulated.
Downward Facing Tree Pose (Ado Mukha Vrksasana)
This type of pose is classified as Inversion. People can use props like blanket to support their head. Limitations of this pose are for people who have menstruation, back/neck/shoulder injury or those who are suffering from high blood pressure, headache, and heart problem.
The benefits of this pose include the following:
- Strengthens wrists, shoulders, and arms;
- Stretches the abdominal region muscles;
- Helps an individual with his sense of balance;
- Calms or relaxes the brain; and,
- Therapy for mild depression.