These are special patterns of postures that stabilise the mind and the body through static stretching. Their aim is to establish proper system in the neuromuscular tonic impulses and improve the general muscle tone. Two basic principles governing the performance of asanas are stability and comfort. This suggests that the nature of asanas is psycho-neurophysical and not only physical. Every asana should be performed effortlessly and maintained for a comfortable time. There should be no jerks and the performance of asana should not lead to undue fatigue
Asanas may be classified as
(1) Meditative
(2) Cultural, and
(3) Relaxative
1. Meditative Asanas are sitting postures, which maintain the body in a steady and comfortable condition. By various arrangements of legs and hands, different Meditative Asanas viz. Siddhasana, Swastikasana, Padmasana, Vajrasana, Bhadrarau, Muktasana and Sukhasana are performed. The characteristic feature of the Meditative Asana is, however, keeping the head, neck and trunk erect.
2. Cultural Asanas involve static stretching, which bring about proper tone of muscles. They contribute to the flexibility of the spine and render the back and spinal muscles stronger. They also stimulate proper working of the vital organs in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. There are innumerable varieties of Cultural Asanas, which are performed through sitting, lying and standing position Pavan Muktasana, Naukasana, Viparita Karni, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Chakrasana etc.
3. Relaxative Asanas are few in numbers like Shavasana, Makarasana, Balasana etc. They are performed in the lying position and are meant for giving rest to the body and mind.
These practices bring control over the respiratory impulses, which form one of the channels of the flow of autonomic nerve impulses. Holding of the breath for a prolonged and comfortable time is an essential technique of Pranayama. The expiratory phase is so controlled that the following inspiratory phase is not affected in its slow and controlled inspiration. The main purpose of Pranayama is to gain control over the autonomic nervous system. It is useful in higher Yogic practices like meditation.
Bandhas and Mudras
These are locks and holds of the semi voluntary and involuntary muscles in the body. They decongest the vital organs, improve circulation and nutrition by pressure manipulations and contribute to general health and emotional stability. A difference is made between the Bandhas and Mudras on the basis of their use in Pranayama. Mudras that are used in Pranayama are usually called Bandhas because they bind and channelise a particular nervous activity in a particular place or direction. Jalandhara, Uddiyana and Moola are important Bandhas. Some Asanas are called Mudras because of their specific effects and channels through which the effects are brought about.
These are purificatory processes usually classified into six divisions and therefore they are often called Shatkriyas. These are Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka, Nauli and Kapalbhati, each one of which consists of many sub-sections. They increase the range of adaptability of the tissues forming various organs and systems and raise the threshold of their reactivity. Kriyas bring control on different reflexes and establish psycho-physiological balance. The modes of purification in the Kriyas are air, water, friction and manipulating movement. The regions of cleansing involved in various Kriyas are Naso-pharyngeal, Otocranial, Gestro-oesophageal, ano-rectal and intestinal.
This is the practice involving control of the mental functions, which start from the initial withdrawal of the senses from external objects to the complete oblivion of the external environment. There are several techniques of meditation. It is a process of absorption in which the individual tries to turn his attention to dwell upon a single object, sound, concept or experience. It is not always safer to start one's practice in meditation without preparing adequately through Asanas and Pranayama. The basic principle of Meditation is to develop internal awareness.
Benefits of Yogic postures : Garudasana (Eagle Posture)
Technique: Take a standing position. Raise the right leg and twist it around the left leg. Ideally, the right should lie in front of the left thigh and the right foot should rest on the calf of the left leg. Now, fold the two arms at the elbows. Twist the right arm around the left arm. Try to place the palms together so that they resemble the beak of an eagle. Slowly bend the legs and lower the body as far as you are able, while maintaining the balance. Maintain it for short time and slowly return to the original position.
Benefits: It keeps the joint flexible and helps in sciatic and hydrocele
Katichakrasana (Lumber-Wheel Posture) Technique: Stand erect with the feet about half a meter apart. Then twist your body to the right, keeping the position of your feet and legs fixed. Allow your arms to rotate and entwine your body. Also rotate your head as far as possible in the same direction as the twist of the back. In the final position, your left hand should rest on your right shoulder; your right hand should be in contact with the left side of your waist; and your eyes should gaze backwards over your right shoulder.
Benefits: It helps to removes constipation, flatulence and control diabetic mellitus. It helps to keep lungs, lumbar spine and neck healthy.
Padahastasana (Foot-hand Posture) Technique: Stand upright place the feet together. Let the trunk progressively bend forwards. Try to let your head hang as closely as possible to the knees. Hold your legs as near as possible to the feet. Relax your muscles and keep your legs straight. The head should be gently pulled towards the knees by slowly tensing the arm muscles. Stay for a few minutes and slowly return to the final position.
Benefits: It helps to keep abdomen healthy and removes the extra fat.
Tadasana (Palm-tree Pose )
Technique: Stand erect with your feet about 15 cms apart. Keep your eyes open throughout the practice. Interlock the fingers of both hands. Then hold your arms directly above your head. Gently adjust your hands so that the palms face upwards. Then stretch your whole body upwards as far as possible. Raise yourself on tiptoes, all the time trying to stretch up as high as you can. Remain the final position for a few seconds. Then lower the body and bend and relax the arms.
Benefits: It helps to keep spine healthy
Precaution: The patients of varicose veins and dizziness or who find balancing difficult must not perform this asana.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Technique: Stand erect with your feet one meter apart. Raise your arm sideways to shoulder height. Slowly lean to the right and bring the right hand to the right toe. Your arms should be in one straight line with your head facing forwards. Your arms, legs and the whole body should lie in one vertical plane. When your right hand touches your right foot, your left hand should simultaneously point directly upwards. To complete the movement, turn the head upwards and gaze your left hand
Benefits: It helps to remove constipation, muscular stress and improves the appetite. Urdhva-hastottanasana (Up-Stretched Arms Posture)
Technique: Stand on the ground with joined feet. Raise your arms and the fingers of the hands interlocked. In one smooth movement, looking straight ahead, drop down to the left, bending from the waist, try to get low enough for your arms to be parallel with the floor. Come back to the center and repeat on the right.
Benefits: It makes the waist slim, the chest broad and removes fatty deposits on the hips and the buttocks. In increases height and relieves painful condition of the ribs.
Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
Technique: Stand straight; put the feet together arms on the respective sides. Lift the right foot and grasp the ankle by your right hand. Fold the right leg and maintaining the balance place the right heel at the top (joint region) of the left thigh with help of both hands. The sole of the right feet should press the thigh and toes pointing downwards. Folded leg should be at right angle to the other leg. Now join the palms and finger in supplication manner raise and keep at chest, slowly raise them above the head keep the body in balance for some time. Now down your hand to chest and take them and come back at your previous position
Benefits: It helps to improve the concentration and balance the mental status. Keeps healthy musculature.
Technique: Sit in any meditative comfortable position. Inhale and Exhale with force. This mimics the bellow of a smith. Continue for 10-15 rounds in the beginning and extend the number of rounds as the practice continues.
Benefits: It stimulates the whole body, improves circulation and invigorates the nerves
Surya Bhedi
Technique: Sit in any comfortable position and close the eyes with spine erect. Close the left nostril and take deep breath through the right nostril. Then, exhale through the left nostril by closing the right nostril. Continue the practice for a desired number of rounds.
Benefits: This practice will help to counteract the dominance of para sympathetic nervous system. This will also help in burning of excessive calories in the body.
Technique: Sit in any comfortable position. Close the glottis to the half by adopting partial Jalandhara bandha. Slowly draw the air in through both the nostrils, producing a sound in such a way that its touch is felt from the throat to the chest. One can hold the breathing for while as per one's capacity. Then gently exhale the air through both the nostrils. While inhalation and exhalation the air passes through the wind pipe in the throat region with friction and hence the breathing will be with hissing sound.
Benefits: This practice helps to reduce the inflammation of joints. It gives general well-beingness to the patient
* Sit comfortably in any meditative posture with closed eyes
* Keep the spine erect
* Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale slowly through the left nostril.
* After complete inhalation, close the left nostril with the ring finger of the right hand.
* Open the right nostril and exhale slowly.
* After complete exhalation, again inhale through the right nostril.
* Close the right nostril by pressing it with the right thumb.
* After opening the left nostril, breathe out slowly and completely.
* This constitutes one round of Nadhishodhana.
* Repeat the same for a desired number of rounds
Benefits: It helps to reduce the inflammation of joints and balance the autonomic nervous system. Yogic Management of Common Diseases :
1. Diabetes Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Shankhaprakshalana, Kapalbhati, Nauli.
Asana:- Ardha Matsyendrasana, Mandukasana, Matsyasana, Katichakrasana, Padahastasana, Urdhva hastottanasana, Supta Pawan Muktasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Halasana, Chakrasana, Balasana, Yogamudrasana, Shalabasana.
Pranayama:- Bhastrika, Surya Bhedi
Bandha and Mudra:- Uddiyana bandha, Viparitkarni
2. Arthritis
Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Kapalbhati, Shankhaprakshalana, Nauli
Asana:- Tadasana, Katichakrasana, Konasana, Padahastasana, Janushirshasana, Gomukhasana, Vakrasana, Ardha padamasana Vajrasana, Bhujangasana, Ekpadotanasana, Merudandasanchalanasana, Sukhasana.
Pranayama:- Surya Bhedi, Bhastrika, Ujjai.
Bandha and Mudra:- Tribandhasana.
3. Heart Disease Shatkarma:- Jalneti, Kapalbhati
Asana:- Tadasana, Merudandasanchalanasana, Setu bandhasana, Bhujangasana, Ardha shalbhasana, Balasana, Vajrasana, Vakrasana, Katichakrasana, Ekpadotanasana, Ardhapadmasana.
Pranayama:- Nadisodhana, Ujjai, AnulomVilom, Deep Breathing.
Bandhas and Mudra:- Uddiyana bhanda.
Precaution: Chakrasana, Sarvagasana should be avoided.
4. Back pain Shatkarma:- Jalneti, Kapalbhati
Asana:- Tadasana, Katichakrasana, Pawanmuktasana, Merudandasanchalanasana, Setubandhasana, Bhujangasana, Ardhashalbhasana, Shalbhasana, Balasana, Vajrasana, Vakrasana.
Pranayama:- Deep Breathing, Nadisodhana.
Bandha and Mudra:- Moolbandha
Precaution: Padahasttasana, Paschimottasana, Sarvangasana and Halasana should be avoided
5. Respiratory Disease Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Kapalbhati, Nauli, Shankhaprakshalana, Tratka.
Asana:- Tadasana, katichakrasana, Urdhva hastottanasana, Akarna- Dhanurasana, Gomukhasana, Ardhamatsyendrasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Matsyasana, Naukasana, Shalbhasana, Supt Vajrasana, Shavasana, Simhasana.
Pranayama:- Suryabhedi, Bhastrika
Bandha and Mudra:- Uddiyana bandh, Jalandhara bandha
Precaution: Sarvangasana, Halasana, Mayurasana should be avoided.
6. Eye Problem
Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalnetui, Kapalbhati, Nauli, Shankhaprakshalana, Tratka.
Asana:- Tadasana, Padhastasana, Sarvangsana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Matsyasana, Ushtrasana, Simhasana, Shavasana.
Pranayama:- Nadisodhana, Ujjai, Shitali.
Bandha and Mudra:- Tribhandhas, Viparitakarni.
7. Gastric Disorder
Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Kapalbhati, Nauli, Shakhaprakshalana.
Asana:- Tadasana, Katichakrasana, Suptapwanamuktasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Mandukasana, Matsyasana, Mayurasana, Uttanpadasana, Chakrasana, Balasana
Pranayama:- Suryabhedi, Bhastrika.
Bandha and Mudra:- Uddiyana bandha, Moolbandha, Viparitakarni
8. Hernia
Shatkarma:- Jalneti.
Asana:- Padahasatasana, Suptapawanmuktasana, Shalabhasana, Vajrasana, Gomukhasana, Paschimotanasana, Janushirsiasana, Sarvangsana, Halasana.
Pranayama:- Anulom -Vilom, Nadisodhan.
Bandha and Mudra:- Uddiyanabandh, Moolbandh, Mahabandhmudra, Vipritkarni mudra.
Precaution: Ushtrasana, Chakrasana, Matysasana, Suptavajrasana, Dhanurasana, Bhujangasana should be avoided.
9. Hypertension Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Kapalbhati
Asana:- Tadasana, Konasana, Ekpadottanasana, Bhujangasana, Shalbhasana, Vajrasana, Vakrasana, Merudandsanchalana, Setubandhasana, Savasana, Balasana
Pranayama:- Anulom -Vilom, Nadisodhan.
Bandha and Mudra:- Moolbandha
Precaution: Matsyasana, Chakrasana, Dhanurasana, Halasana should be avoided.
10. Allergy
Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Sutraneti, Kapalbhati, Shankhaprakshalana.
Asana:- Tadasana, Katichakrasana, Vajrasana, Mandukasana, Ardha- Matsyendrasans, Matsyasana, Suptpawanmuktasana, Sarvangaasna, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Savasana.
Pranayama:- Nadisodhan, Bhastrika, Shitli, Bhramri
Bandha and Mudra:- Tribandha
11. Migraine
Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Sutrneti, Jalneti, Kapalbhati, Shankhprakshalana.
Asana:- Bhujangasana, Vajrasana, Ardha matsyenrdrasans Matsyasana, Tadasana, Shavasana.
Pranayama:- Bhastrika, Nadisodhan, Shitali, Bhramri.
Bandha and Mudra:- Tribandhsa.
Precaution: Ushtrasana, Matsysana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana should be avoided.
12. Obesity
Shatkarma:- Kunjal, Jalneti, Kapalbhati, Shankhaprakshalana.
Asana:- Tadasana, Katichakrasana, Konasana, Trikonasana, Urdhvahastottanasana Padahastasana, Suptpawanmuktasana, Sharvangsana,
Halasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Mandukasana, Matsyasana, Suptvajrasana, Ardha -matsyendrasans, Savasana
Pranayama:- Bhastrika, Suryabhedi, Ujjai.
Bandha and Mudra:- Tribandhas, Mhamudra, Vipritakarni.
Precaution: As per body requirement  

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