Bhujangasana/cobra pose-backward bend
. Lying flat on the stomach place your legs straight out behind with the feet close together and the soles pointing upwards. Rest the palms of the hands on the floor underneath the shoulders. Place the forehead on the floor let the whole body relax and breathe a full yoga breath with the eyes closed.
. When you are ready to begin take a deep breath in and slowly begin to lift the upper body off the floor raising the head, neck and shoulders, straighten the elbows and keeping the shoulders relaxed. It is important to use the back muscles to hold the position rather than the muscles in the arms. Relax the pubic bone towards the floor, tilt the head slightly backwards and breathe for 5 long slow deep breathes.
Visualise the 3rd eye point,(the space between the eye brows). As the breath moves inward imagine a bright white light at the 3rd eye as the breath moves outward visualise the light beaming upwards towards the sky like a laser beam. Breathe deeply brightening the light with every breath.
. To release exhale and slowly relax the body down to the starting position.
Bhujangasana is a strong spinal stretch and a simpler variation may be practiced in the beginning this is called ?sphinx pose. It can be achieved in the same way as cobra pose except the forearms and elbows remain on the floor throughout the pose.
Bhujangasana improves circulation in the back and tones the nerves .When the nerves are stimulated this increases communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This asana tones the gynaecological area, stimulates appetite and alleviates constipation.
Trikonasana/triangle pose -lateral stretch
. Stand to the side of the mat with a legs length distance between the feet .Turn your right foot out to the right side and turn the toes of the left foot slightly inwards. The heel of the right foot should be opposite the left instep.
. Inhale and stretch the arms up to shoulder level with the palms facing down. Exhale and stretch towards the right side. Hold here for 2/3 breathes and feel the stretch all the way down the left side of the body.
. Exhale and move the right hand down to rest on the right shin stretching the left arm directly upwards with the palm facing forward. Turn the head to look up at the left palm, keep the chin tucked in towards the chest and take 3/5 full yoga breathes. This is a powerful asana which can create wonderful length on both sides of the body. As you hold the stretch close your eyes and reach up high with the top hand visualise the fingertips touching the stars, reach higher with every in breath.
. To return to the starting position inhale and stretch upwards with the finger tips of the left hand. Release the right hand from the shin and bring the body slowly back up to standing keeping the arms stretched out at shoulder level. Exhale and release the hands back down to the sides of the body. Turn both feet to face forward before repeating on the opposite side.
1. If the full position is difficult to achieve in the beginning with the legs straight it maybe possible to hold the position with the front knee slightly bent.
2. If there is a problem with the shoulder or arm, relax the top arm on the side of the body or rest the hand on the waist with the elbow pointing upwards. In time and after regular practice the full asana may be achievable.
Trikonasana tones the entire body, strengthening the muscles of the waist, back and the legs. It improves digestion, stimulates appetite and alleviates any digestive problems.
Halasana/plough pose-inverted posture
.Lying relaxed on your back with the legs and feet together. Place the arms beside the body with the hands facing down. Connect with the full yoga breath.
. Inhale and lift the legs so that the toes touch the floor behind the head. Use the hands as support to help roll the body backwards. Make the movement as slow and controlled as possible. As the legs stretch over the head visualise that the feet are creating a rainbow from position 1 all the back way to the floor behind the head, creating the perfect arc. Rest the palms on the lower back keeping the chin tucked in towards the chest.
. Although the breath will become slightly restricted continue to breathe deeply through the nose, this will help to strengthen the lungs and bring a fresh blood supply to the whole of the body when the asana is released. As you the hold the asana visualise the colours of the rainbow filling the whole of your being helping you to relax into the posture.
. Beginners can start by holding the pose for 15 seconds and in time increase to one minute.
. To release gently bring the back down to the floor one vertebrae at a time with awareness on the movement of the spine. Once again visualise the arc of the rainbow as it slowly moves back down towards the floor. Keep the legs straight slowly lowering them both to the ground.
. If it is difficult to place the toes on the floor behind the head take the legs back as far as possible and cradle the ankles with the hands so that the feet are a few inches above the ground.
Halasana has a multitude of benefits as do the majority of inverted poses these include:
. All the internal organs are massaged which helps to activate digestion
. Relief from constipation and dyspepsia
. The spleen is revitalised
. Insulin production is improved as well as the function of the liver and kidneys
. The Spinal column is toned which reduces back pain
. Thyroid gland activity is regulated which naturally balances the metabolic rate
. Halasana is widely used in yoga therapy to help many disorders such as:
. urinary tract and menstrual disorders.