Ustrasana | Camel Pose

The Camel Pose stretches the entire front of the body and strengthens back muscles. The pose improves your posture and stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck.


> Feet/legs: Knees hip width apart. Press your shins and the tops of your feet firmly into floor.Lengthen the back and the pelvis down through your tail bone, slightly firm the tail forward. Make sure though that your front groins don’t “puff” forward. To prevent this, press your front thighs back, countering the forward action of your tail. Lift your heart by pressing the shoulder blades against your back ribs.

> Hands: Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down.

> Upper body: Press your palms firmly against your soles (or heels), the fingers pointing toward the toes. Lift the lower back ribs away from the pelvis to keep the lower spine as long as possible. Be care-
ful not to strain your neck and harden your throat.

Key benefits:

> Stretches the ankles, thighs, groins (psoas) as well as the abdomen and chest, throat.
> Stretches and strengthens back muscles.
> Improves your posture
> Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck.
Theraputical for respiratory ailments, mild backache, fatigue, anxiety and menstrual discomfort



Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (intermed/advanced)
Full position: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (intermed/advanced)


> High or low blood pressure
> Migraine
> Insomnia
> Serious lower back- or neck injury

Urdhva Dhanurasana | Wheel Pose

Urdhva Dhanurasana is the beginning of the advanced and difficult backbending poses. It tones and streches the spine and strengthen the arms and writs. At the same time as it gets the body alert and awaken it sooths the head. Most of the restraint you might feel towards this pose is probably fear, so be fierce.


> Place the feet behind the buttocks, hip width apart, place the hands by the ears, thumb finger pointing towards the feet, press the feet and hands and lift the hips up, keep the knees from dropping to the sides and open the upper back. To come down slowly bend the arms and come down on the head and then release the hips down.

> Modification: Place the hands by the ears, thumb finger pointing towards the feet, press the feet and hands and lift the hips up and place the crown of the head onto the mat, keep the knees from drop-
ping to the sides. To come down slowly release the hips to the floor.

> Preparation: Hold the ankles with both hands, lift the hips and draw the tail bone forward, continue lifting the hips and interlace the fingers and walk a little bit higher up on the shoulders, don’t drop the knees to the side keep contact in the legs and press from the feet.

Key benefits:

> Stretches the chest and lungs
> Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, spine
> Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
> Increases energy and counteracts depression
> Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis



Preparing poses: Hold 30 sec-1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec-1 min (beginners)
Full position: Hold 30 sec-1 min (intermed/advanced).


Back injury, Carpal tunnel syndrome, diarrhea, headache, heart problems, high- or low blood pressure

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana | One-Legged King Pigeon Pose


> Legs: Back-leg should extend straight out of the hip (and not be angled off to the left), and rotated slightly inwardly, so its midline presses against the floor. The knee of the front-leg should ideally be in a 90 degree angle, if not, do not attempt to deepen into full pose.
> Upper body: Lengthen the lower back by pressing your tailbone down and forward; at the same time, and lift your pubis toward the navel. Roll your left hip point toward the right heel, and lengthen the left front groin.

Key benefits:

> Stretches the thighs, groins and psoas, abdomen, chest and shoulders, and neck
> Stimulates the abdominal organs
> Opens the shoulders and chest
> Therapeutic for Urinary disorders



Preparing poses: Hold 1-5 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold for 30 sec to 3 minutes (intermed/advanced)
Full position: Hold for 30 sec to 3 minutes (advanced)

> Sacroiliac injury
> Ankle injury
> Knee injury
> Tight hips or thighs

Dhanurasana | Bow Pose

The Bow Pose may be seen as a counter-pose to Halasana and Pashimottanasana. It’s a full backward bend to supplement these two forward bending exercises. In the Bow, all parts of the back are worked simultaniously, incerasing strength and suppleness in the spine and hips.

He who does Halasana, Mayurasana and Dhanurasana can never become lazy.
He will always be full of energy, vigour and vitality
Swami Sivananda

> Feet/legs: Make sure your knees aren’t wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose.
> Draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears.
> Breathe more into the back of your torso, and be sure not to stop breathing.

Key benefits:
> Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)
> Strengthens the back muscles
> Improves posture
> Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
> Theraputic for constipation, respiratory ailments, mild backache, fatigue and anxiety.


Preparing poses: Practise dynamically. Inhale – up, exhale – down (beginners)
Modification: Hold for 10 to 30 seconds (all levels), repeat 3-5 times
Full position: Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times, on last attempt, try the rocking bow.


> High or low blood pressure
> Migraine
> Insomnia
> Serious lower-back or neck injury.
Students with any of these problems can however practise preparing poses.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana | Bridge pose

The Bridge Pose is a very simple yet a powerful pose, it complments and enhances the benefits of both the Shoulderstand and the Plow. It stretches the chest, neck, spine and rejuvenates tired legs and it also has many theraputical benefits.


> Hands/arms: Press your arms actively into the floor (prep-mod).
> Feet/legs: Place the heels as close to the sitting bones as possible, feet are hip-width apart, and parallell. Press your inner feet actively into the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels.
> Pelvic region: Push your tailbone upward toward the pubis when entering the position. When in the position lengthen the tailbonentoward the back of the knees. Lift the pubis towards the navel.
> Chest/neck: Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin.

Key benefits:

> Alleviates stress
> Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
> Improves digestion
> Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
> Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
> Relieves anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
> Theraputical for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis.



Preparing pose: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Modification: Hold 30 sec – 1 min (beginners)
Full position: 30 sec to 1 minute (intermed/advanced)


Neck injury: avoid full pose (place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck).

Matsyasana | Fish Pose

The Fish gets its name because it’s easy to float in water when in the advanced (Fish in Lotus) variation. This is because the pose releases the inhibitations on the lungs thus allowing greater capacity to fill with air. To derive the maximum benefit the Fish Pose should be done after the shoulderstand.


> Directly from Sarvangasana: Support the hands on the back and come back to Sarvangasana, lower the legs 90 degrees over the head and place the hands on the side of the hips, slowly roll down vertebra by vertebra and place the buttocks on the hands and legs in a cross legged position, press the elbows to the mat arch the back and place the crown of the head on the floor.
> Mod: Cross legged (no lotus), hands under buttocks (not holding feet)

Key benefits:

> Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs
> Stretches/stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck
> Stretches/stimulates the organs of the belly and throat
> Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
> Improves posture
> Theraputical for constipation, respiratory ailments, mild backache, fatigue, anxiety and menstrual pain


Preparing poses: Hold 15 – 30 sec (beginners)
Modification: Hold 15 – 30 sec (intermediate)
Full position: Hold 15 – 30 sec (advanced)


> High or low blood pressure
> Migraine
> Insomnia
> Serious lower-back or neck injury