Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Trikanasana – Triangle Pose – For Beginners

You’ve been prepared by the Standing Separate Leg Stretching for the big side ward step, so be sure to take a huge one. If you don’t, you will have to adjust your stance in the middle of the pose.
The injunction to keep your hips level and facing forward and the instruction to lunge down to a parallel position and/or hold it there will both seem ridiculous to you the first day. Cheer up. Things will get worse.

Despite my directions, beginners usually do put weight on their fingers at first to keep from falling over or collapsing. Just try as best you can, though, to bear all the weight on the bent leg, which will probably be trembling from the strain. And if you feel like the Tin Man (or Woman) when you try to touch chin to shoulder, don’ t worry. Oil can is on the way.

The triangle is quite simply a killer for most beginners. Just trying to hold it for ten seconds will at first preclude pushing stomach and right hip forward and upper body and left hip backward, not the mention pushing the right knee backward. You’ll be surprised after a week, though, at the strength you have developed. Then work on the refinements.

One side is always easier. If you’ re lucky, this may be it!

Soon you’ll begin to feel like that flower opening to the sun. Just trust the process.


The Triangle is the only posture in the world that improves every muscle, joint, tendon, and internal organ in the body. At the same time, it revitalizes nerves, veins and tissues. It helps cure lumbago and rheumatism of the lower spine by flexing and strengthening the last five vertebrae, and it improves crooked spines. This is the most important pose to increase the strength and flexibility of the hip joint and of the muscles of the side of the torso. It also firms upper thighs and hips, slims the waistline, and improves the deltoid, trapezius, scapula, and latissimus muscles.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Dandayamana – Bibhaktapada – Paschimotthanasana – Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose - Fot Beginners

The wider the stance you take, the easier the stretch.  And the slightly pigeon-toed stance helps keep your feet from slipping outward and almost automatically makes your legs bow backward, putting weight on the heels, where it should be. 

Those of you who have trouble taking a sideways step of at least four feet – keep trying, be patient.
Once you get the idea of this pose, your body position and weight will do most of the work, allowing you to just hand there and stretch. You could almost fall asleep. How to reach this mini-Nirvana? Good news! It’s not hard. All you need is the patience to push it an inch farther each day, plus a few pointers.

The first day or two, once your legs are positioned properly, you might wish simply to put your hands on the floor in front of you, about twelve inches apart. Then, keeping your legs straight, bend your elbows toward the floor and roll your body forward like a wheel, reaching for the floor with your forehead. That way you begin to stretch yourself out and get the feel of the posture and the balance.
Now, it’s obvious that to get your forehead to the floor you are going to need every inch of body you can find. Luckily, the body is hiding all kinds extra stretching in tight muscles and tendons. Once stretched out – do you remember Rubber Man in the comic strips? Like him, you will soon find yourself bending absolutely double from the base of the buttocks.


The Standing Separate Leg Stretching cures and prevents sciatica by stretching and strengthening the sciatic nerves and the tendons of the legs. It helps the functioning of most of the internal abdominal organs, especially the small and large intestine, and improves the muscle tone and flexibility of thighs and calves and the flexibility of the pelvis, ankles, and hip joints, and of the last five vertebrae of the spine.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Duladandasana – Balancing Stick Pose - for beginners

Get yourself set just as surely and solidly as you did with the Standing Bow Pulling. Straighten your steeple and move the head and shoulders back as far as they will go, farther than ever, allowing the chest to puff forward. That is exactly the torso position you are going to keep throughout the pose – at least you can try.

As in the Standing Bow Pulling, this is a totally front to back, up and down, parallel position. So, as you take your big step forward with the right foot, check your left hip. If you have allowed it to angle slightly left, adjust both hips and torso to face the mirror directly, and keep them level.

As you pivot forward, use all your strength and determination. Be sure you are moving all in one piece (that means maintaining exactly the position you started in). To make this easier, pretend the floor is a pit of hungry crocodiles. Your standing leg is in no danger, being quite fortunately encased in crocodile repellent. But every other bit of you is in grave danger. The only way to keep your tummy and chest and left leg safe is to stretch your torso forward like crazy by lifting, ever lifting your arms and head, while you stretch more and more backward with the pointed foot and ever more forward with the fingertips, all the while lifting at front and back.

If you can pivot forward only two inches today, so be it. Tomorrow it will be ten. Remember to keep that left hip level. The more you press it down, the more pull you are going to feel in the back of your standing knee. This is good. Pull more

Make up your mind you are going to do it for 10 seconds, and don’t give up! 

Everybody wants to let their hands collapse and rest on their heads for an instant before doing the pose to the left. For reasons of stamina and discipline, do not succumb to this temptation!

By now you realize how difficult it is not the feed the crocodiles!!!


The Balancing Stick perfects control and balance by improving physical, psychological, and mental powers. In addition, it firms hips, buttocks, and upper thighs, as well as providing the same benefits for the legs as the Standing Head to Knee. It increases circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, and stretches the capacity of the lungs. It is one of the best exercises for bad posture; strengthens the flexibility of latissimus, deltoid, and trapezius muscles; and improves the flexibility, strength, and muscle tone of shoulders, upper arms, spine and hip joints.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana – Standing Bow Pulling pose - For Beginners

Almost everyone gets the grip wrong at first. Your wrist will be inside the foot and your fingers pointing outward.

As in Standing Head to Knee Pose, the standing leg must remain absolutely straight. So as a beginner, do only as much as you can while keeping your knee locked. Remember also not to let your arm drop. Think of it as a Siamese twin to your head.

As impossible as this pose seems the first time you try it, it is the pose people seem to resent the least and are the most anxious to perform and perfect. It just looks so pretty!

The most important advice we can give you here is don’t be in hurry to dive into this position. Get yourself firmly set! Set your eyes on one spot, lock your standing knee, level your hips, and drop your raised knee toward the floor. Both of your thighs will then face directly forward, the bottom of your raised foot will point directly at the ceiling, and the toes will point directly at the back wall – all perfectly up and down, forward and back. No ballet “turnout” in Yoga. Only after you have done the above should you commence pivoting forward, at all times reinforcing the straight up-and-down, forward-and-back angles you began with. Most important, don’t let your lifted knee swing to the side  - like a chicken wing.

Remember, the name of this pose is the Standing Bow Pulling ; use your body exactly like a bow being strung and drawn by an archer. This means you must arch your head and spine even more backward as you pivot forward. If you begin to lose your balance, raise your arm and head higher and kick harder upward and backward against your hand – in effect tautening the “bow” even more, or “picking yourself up by the bootstraps.” You’ll be amazed at how it restores balance!

Naturally, you must make it hurt in the back of your standing knee. But never dive forward or kick up exuberantly or abruptly. And never do the Standing Bow Pulling with cold, unprepared muscles. In other words, nice as it is to have a spectacular party trick – don’ t.

Once you get your abdomen truly parallel to the floor – and only then – will you achieve the graceful standing split!


Standing Bow Pulling is a perfect example of the “damming” effect in Yoga, because it transfers the circulation from one side of the body to other, and then equalizes it – circulating fresh blood to each internal organ and gland to keep them healthy.

Like the Standing Head to Knee, this pose helps develop concentration, patience, and determination. Physically, it firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs, and tightens upper arms, hips, and buttocks. It increases the size and elasticity of the rib cage and the lungs and improves the flexibility and strength of the lower spine and most of the body’s muscles.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Dandayamana - Janushirasana – Standing Head to Knee Pose - For beginners

You may find that your foot is much farther away than you thought it was! But once you grab it, you will want a good grip, so if your feet or hands are wet with perspiration, wipe them with the towel first.

As a beginner, keeping the standing leg tight and locked is the most important thing, even if that is all you can do the first day. Also, the concept of “straightening” the leg is incomplete.  You will find progress if you think in terms of bowing the leg backward rather than straightening it.
Relaxation comes into play here. People tend to translate instructions to “straighten and stretch” as “tense and tighten.” But not until you fully relax the standing knee, letting it bow right backward, will it really straighten. Don’t fight it. Don’t be scared. Let go!

Don’t be discouraged if you feel ten months pregnant and trying to tie your shoelaces as you attempt to straighten your raised leg out parallel to the floor. Even ballet dancers in tip-top condition have trouble doing it at first, plus not falling over in the process. So why should you be any different?
The fact is, straightening the extended leg has nothing to do with the leg itself; the leg is only there to connect your foot to your body. Your focus of attention must be on your foot, pulling hard on the toes until they point back toward you, pushing the heel forward with all your might. In addition, you will never get the toes pulled fully back, the heel thrust fully forward, and thus the leg fully straightened unless you  - again – relax!! Give it your honest effort each day. But be patient with yourself. This is a toughie.

Do not attempt to bend forward and touch your head to your knee until you can straighten the extended leg and lock the knee. This is an absolute rule!!

Do, however, get those elbows down toward the floor from the very beginning, almost hugging your leg, rather than letting them point outward like chicken wings. This makes balance easier, increases the pull on your toes, and will speed your progress in touching head to knee.
If you keep losing balance, it is because you are not keeping gaze fixed, as though your eyeballs had turned to stone, on one spot either in front of you or on the floor. Experimentation will find the spot that works best for you.

To start getting forehead down to the knee, use brute strength, gallons of perspiration, and whatever huffing and puffing makes you feel good. Once your muscles and tendons become fairly flexible and you are about halfway there, you can cheat a little. Hold your position to the count of eight, bent as far as you can go. Then the last two seconds of the posture, pull your leg upward more strongly and reach with your forehead even more, trying to touch the knee if only for a split second.
You may fall over the first few times, but your body and your muscles will begin to remember and to figure out what they have to do to eventually make the contact and hold it.

Balance in the final stages of the Standing Head to Knee is accomplished by bowing everything farther and farther and pulling more firmly upward, toward, and “into” yourself.  Another trick to remember is relaxing everything in the hip joints, buttocks, and the lower spine.


The Standing Head to Knee helps develop concentration, patience, and determination. Physically, it tightens abdominal and thigh muscles, improves flexibility of the sciatic nerves, and strengthens the tendons, biceps of the thigh muscles, and hamstrings in the legs, in addition to the deltoid, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, scapula, biceps and triceps.
Read more about this pose benefits, pictures, video and tips from here
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.