The Postures

#1

Standing Deep Breathing

Pranayama Series

This exercise is done to warm the body up from the inside out and also expand lung capacity. Two sets of 10 slow inhale/exhale breaths start the class.

Benefits:
  • Expands lungs
  • Increases circulation throughout the entire body
  • Wakes up the body, preparing muscles for movement during class
  • Decreases susceptibility to lung ailments
  • Helps prevent asthma, emphysema and shortness of breath

#2

Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose

Ardha-Chandrasana with Pada-Hastasana

Warms up the upper body/spine, and begins the process of concentration, patience and focus.

Benefits:

Half Moon Pose
  • Increases vitality
  • Gives quick energy
  • Increases strength and flexibility of muscles in the abdomen and shoulders:
    • Increases spinal flexibility
    • Corrects poor posture
    • Promotes proper kidney function
  • Helps cure digestion issues
  • Firms and trims waistline, hips, abdomen and thighs
Hands to Feet Pose
  • Increases flexibility of:
    • Spine
    • Sciatic nerve
    • Tendons and ligaments of legs
  • Strengthens hamstrings and calves
  • Increases circulation in legs and brain
  • Increases strength and flexibility of muscles including the buttocks, abdominals, and shoulders.
  • Firms and trims waistline, hips, abdomen and thighs

#3

Awkward Pose

Utkatasana

This 3-part posture warms up the lower body.

Benefits:
  • Strengthens and firms muscles of:
    • Thighs
    • Calves
    • Hips
    • Upper arms
  • Increases hip flexibility
  • Increases blood circulation in:
    • Knees
    • Ankles
  • Relieves:
    • Rheumatism
    • Arthritis
    • Gout in the legs
  • Helps cure:
    • Slipped discs
    • Lumbago (Low Back Pain)

#4

Eagle Pose

Garuasana

Eagle pose opens the 12 major joints of the body - seven on each side - deltoids, scapula, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. It is the final posture of the warm-up series, and a short break follows this asana.

Benefits:
  • Supplies fresh blood to sex organs and kidneys, increasing sexual and renal health
  • Helps firm
    • Calves
    • Hips
    • Abdomen
    • Upper arms
  • Improves flexibility of
    • Hips
    • Knees
    • Ankles
  • Strengthens muscles in the upper back and shoulders.

#5

Standing Head to Knee Pose

Dandayamana-Janushirasana

The first posture of the balancing series, this posture deepens concentration, as well as builds strength throughout the body. It is a forward bending posture, working to increase the strength of the back and muscles surrounding the spine.

Benefits:
  • Develops:
    • Concentration
    • Patience
    • Determination
  • Tightens abdominal and thigh muscles
  • Improves sciatic nerve flexibility
  • Strengthens tendons
  • Strengthens muscles:
    • Hamstrings
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Latissimus dorsi
    • Scapula area
    • Biceps

#6

Standing Bow Pulling Pose

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana

Continuing focus on concentration and strength, this backward bending posture also increases the heart rate, improving the cardiovascular system.

Benefits:
  • Increases circulation of blood in internal organs
  • Develops:
    • Concentration
    • Patience
    • Determination
  • Firms and tightens:
    • Abdominal wall
    • Upper Thighs
    • Upper arms
    • Hips
    • Buttocks
  • Increases elasticity around the ribcage
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Increases lower spine strength and flexibility
  • Strengthens all major muscle groups

#7

Balancing Stick Pose

Tuladandasana

This 10-second posture is designed to further increase the heart rate to strengthen the cardiovascular system, along with all-over body strength.

Benefits:
  • Increases physical control and balance
  • Increases circulation
  • Strengthens heart muscle
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Improves poor posture
  • Improves physical, psychological, and mental power
  • Improves strength, flexibility, and tone of muscles:
    • Shoulders
    • Upper arms
    • Spine
    • Hips
    • Buttocks
    • Upper thighs
  • Develops
    • Concentration
    • Patience
    • Determination
  • Improves sciatic nerve flexibility
  • Strengthens tendons

#8

Standing Separate Leg Stretching

Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana

This stretching pose opens up the whole back side of the body, starting with the legs, moving into the hips, then into the spine - one day providing a 360-degree, full body stretch.

Benefits:
  • Cures and prevents sciatica
  • Stretches and strengthens
    • Sciatic nerves
    • Tendons of legs
  • Improves function of internal organs, especially large and small intestines
  • Improves muscle tone and flexibility of muscles in the legs
  • Improves flexibility of
    • Pelvis
    • Ankles
    • Hip joints
    • Lumbar spine

#9

Triangle Pose

Trikanasana

This is the master posture of the standing series, working the heart, lungs and all major muscles and systems of the body.

Benefits:
  • Improves entire body
    • Muscles
    • Joints
    • Tendons
    • Internal organs
  • Revitalizes nerves, veins, tissues
  • Helps cure ailments of the lumbar spine
  • Improves crooked spine
  • Increases strength and flexibility of
    • Hip joints
    • Muscles of the side of the torso
  • Increases strength of
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Scapula area
    • Latissimus dorsi
  • Firms and trims
    • Upper thighs
    • Hips
    • Waistline

#10

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose

Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana

This front-side compression improves metabolism, and the digestive, endocrine systems, and immune systems.

Benefits:
  • Increases flexibility of
    • Spine
    • Sciatic nerve
    • Tendons and ligaments of legs
  • Strengthens hamstrings and calves
  • Increases circulation in legs and brain
  • Increases strength and flexibility of muscles:
    • Rectus abdomimus
    • Gluteus maximus
    • Obliques
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
  • Firms and trims
    • Waistline
    • Hips
    • Abdomen
    • Buttocks
    • Upper Thighs

#11

Tree Pose

Tadasana

Only one set of this posture is performed. It is designed to lower the heart rate, and focuses on balance and spine-strengthening while opening the hips and knee joints.

Benefits:
  • Improves posture and balance
  • Increases flexibility of joints
    • Ankles
    • Knees
    • Hips
  • Prevents hernia by strengthening internal oblique abdominal muscles
  • Preparation for Lotus pose (an advanced posture)

#12

Toe Stand Pose

Padangustasana

The final posture in the standing series, one set is performed as a final exercise in concentration and patience before beginning the floor series. Benefits

  • Develops psychological and mental strength, especially patience
  • Increases balance
  • Helps cure gout and rheumatism of
    • Knees
    • Ankles
    • Feet
  • Preparation for Lotus pose (an advanced posture)

#13

Dead Body Pose

Savasana

The optimal resting posture for the heart, this is the longest posture in the series lasting a full two minutes. It is the first posture of the floor series, and is then used as a resting pose in between postures for the rest of class.

Benefits:
  • Returns blood circulation and heart rate to normal
  • Teaches complete relaxation of body and mind

#14

Wind Removing Pose

Pavanamuktasana

This posture is excellent for the lower portion of the digestive system, improving elimination functions within the body.

Benefits:
  • Cures and prevents flatulence
  • Massages ascending, descending and transverse colon
  • Increases flexibility
    • Spine
    • Hip joints
  • Strengthens triceps, biceps and hands
  • Firms
    • Abdomen
    • Thighs
    • Hips

#15

Sit Up

A very traditional sit-up is used to transition between postures on the floor, continuing to improve abdominal strength and tone.

Benefits:
  • Strengthens and tightens the abdomen
  • Increases flexibility of the spine
  • Increases energy

#16

Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana

The first of the four-posture spine-strengthening series, this pose isolates and strengthens the lower portion of the spine.

Benefits:
  • Maintains overall body condition
  • Increases spinal strength and flexibility
  • Prevents backaches
  • Helps cure
    • Low back pain
    • Rheumatism
    • Arthritis of the spine
  • Relieves menstrual problems
    • Cramps
    • Irregularity
    • Backache
  • Helps cure loss of appetite
  • Helps correct poor posture
  • Improves function of the liver and spleen
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#17

Locust Pose

Salabhasana

This three-part posture isolates and works the upper portion of the spine.

Benefits:
  • Maintains overall body condition
  • Helps cure tennis elbow
  • Increases spinal strength and flexibility
  • Prevents backache
  • Potent cure for spinal problems
    • Gout
    • Slipped disc
    • Sciatica
    • Low back pain
    • Rheumatism
    • Arthritis of the spine
  • Relieves menstrual problems
    • Cramps
    • Irregularity
    • Backache
  • Helps cure loss of appetite
  • Helps correct poor posture
  • Improves function of the liver and spleen
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps
  • Firms
    • Buttocks
    • Hips
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#18

Full Locust Pose

Poorna-Salabhasana

This posture works the middle portion of the spine, building the musculature surrounding that area.

Benefits:
  • Maintains overall body condition
  • Increases spinal strength and flexibility
  • Prevents backache
  • Helps cure
    • Low back pain
    • Rheumatism
    • Arthritis of the spine
  • Relieves menstrual problems
    • Cramps
    • Irregularity
    • Backache
  • Helps cure loss of appetite
  • Helps correct poor posture
  • Improves function of the liver and spleen
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps
  • Increases elasticity around the ribcage
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps
  • Firms
    • Buttocks
    • Hips
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#19

Bow Pose

Dhanurasana

This posture completes the spine-strengthening series by working the lower, middle and upper spine in tandem, working against gravity to create a deep backward bend.

Benefits:
  • Improves function of internal organs
  • Large and small intestine
    • Liver
    • Kidneys
    • Spleen
  • Helps straighten rounded spines
  • Relieves backache
  • Increases elastiscity ribcage and lung capacity
  • Revitalizes spinal nerves by increasing blood circulation to the spine
  • Improves digestion
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Abdomen
    • Upper arms
    • Thighs
    • Hips
  • Increases flexibility of muscles:
    • Scapula area
    • Latissimus dorsi
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius of the ribcage
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps
  • Firms
    • Buttocks
    • Hips
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#20

Fixed Firm Pose

Supta-Vajrasana

This very gentle backward bending posture also improves the joints of the hips, knees and ankles.

  • Helps cure:
    • Sciatica
    • Gout
    • Rheumatism in legs
  • Strengthens and stretches abdomen
  • Slims and firms calf muscles
  • Strengthens and improves flexibility of
    • Lower spine
    • Hips
    • Knees
    • Ankles
    • Hips
  • Increases flexibility of muscles:
    • Scapula area
    • Latissimus dorsi
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Strengthens muscles
    • Deltoids
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps
  • Firms
    • Buttocks
    • Hips
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#21

Half-Tortoise Pose

Ardha-Kurmasana

A gentle forward bend or spine extension, this pose is excellent for calming the nervous system while also working the shoulders.

Benefits:
  • Provides maximum relaxation
  • Cures indigestion
  • Stretches lower lobes of the lungs
  • Increases blood circulation to the brain
  • Firms
    • Abdomen
    • Thighs
  • Increases flexibility
    • Hip joints
    • Scapula area
    • Deltoids
    • Triceps
    • Latissimus dorsi
    • Buttocks
    • Hips
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#22

Camel Pose

Ustransana

The deepest backbend in the Bikram series, all postures performed up until now prepare the body for Camel pose. This posture compresses the spine and flushes out old fluids and blood, allowing for new, oxygen-rich replacement fluids to lubricate and nourish the spine.

Benefits:
  • Stretches abdominal organs
  • Cures constipation
  • Stretches
    • Throat
    • Thyroid gland
    • Parathyroid gland
  • Opens ribcage to increase lung capacity
  • Improves flexibility
    • Neck
    • Spine
  • Relives backache
  • Firms and slims
    • Abdomen
    • Waistline

#23

Rabbit Pose

Sasangasana

The deepest forward bend or spine extension in the Bikram series, this is the complementary posture to Camel pose. This posture extends the spine, opening each joint and to allow new, oxygen-rich replacement fluids to lubricate and nourish the spine.

Benefits:
  • Stretches and extends the spine
  • Nourishes the nervous system
  • Maintains mobility and elasticity of
    • Spine
    • Back muscles
    • Improves digestion
  • Helps cure
    • Colds
    • Sinus problems
    • Chronic tonsillitis
  • Increases function of
    • Thyroid gland
    • Parathyroid gland
  • Increases flexibility of
    • Scapula
    • Trapezius
  • Helps children reach their full growth potential

#24

Head to Knee with Stretching Pose

Janushirasana with Paschimottinasana

This posture consists of a final compression pose and a final stretching pose. It regulates the heart rate and metabolism, and allows for a final, deep posterior stretch.

Benefits:
Head to Knee
  • Balances the blood sugar level
  • Improves the flexibility of
    • Sciatic nerves
    • Ankles
    • Knees
    • Hip joints
  • Improves digestion
  • Enhances kidney function
  • Expands the solar plexus
Stretching
  • Relieves chronic diarrhea
  • Increases circulation of blood to:
    • Bowels
    • Liver
    • Spleen
  • Increases flexibility of
    • Muscles
      • Trapezius
      • Deltoid
      • Erectus femoris
      • Biceps
    • Sciatic nerves
    • Tendons
    • Hip joints
    • Lumbar vertebrae

#25

Spine Twisting Pose

Ardha-Matsyendrasana

The final posture in the series, this pose allows for a final lateral compression and release of the spine. Only one set on each side of the body is performed.

  • Increases circulation and nutrition to major components of the spine:
    • Nerves
    • Veins
    • Tissues
  • Improves spinal elasticity and flexibility
  • Helps cure
    • Low back pain
    • Rheumatism of the spine
    • Improves digestion
  • Relieves flatulence
  • Firms
    • Abdomen
    • Thighs
    • Buttocks
    • Hips
    • Trapezius
    • Triceps

#26

Blowing in Firm Pose

Kapalbhati in Vajrasana

This final breathing exercise is good for the digestive system, and rids body of toxins (primarily carbon dioxide) at the end of class. Two sets of 60 quick breaths are performed.

Benefits:
  • Strengthens
    • Abdominal organs
    • Abdominal wall
  • Trims the waistline
  • Removes toxins from the bloodstream