Boat Pose

Boat Pose

SANSKRIT: Paripurna Navasana (par-ee-POOR-nah nah-VAHS-anah)

DESCRIPTION: From a seated position the feet are lifted up so that the thighs are angled about 45-50 degrees relative to the earth. The tailbone is lengthened into the earth and the pubis pulls toward the navel. The shoulder blades are spread across the back and the hands reach around the back of the calves, with legs pulled towards the body. The chin is tipped slightly toward the sternum so that the base of the skull lifts lightly away from the back of the neck. Gaze is forward.

BENEFITS: Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine. Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines. Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion.

Bound Angle Pose

Bound Angle Pose

SANSKRIT: Baddha Konasana (BAH-dah cone-AHS-anah)

DESCRIPTION: In sitting position, bend both knees and drop the knees to each side, opening the hips. Bring the soles of the feet together and bring the heels as close to the groin as possible, keeping the knees close to the ground. The hands may reach down and grasp and maneuver the feet so that the soles are facing upwards and the heels and little toes are connected. The shoulders should be pulled back and no rounding of the spine.

BENEFITS: Opens the hips and groins. Stretches the shoulders, rib cage and back. Stimulates the abdominal organs, lungs and heart.

Bow Pose

Bow Pose

SANSKRIT: Dhanurasana (don-your-AHS-anah)

DESCRIPTION: From a prone position with the abdomen on the earth, the hands grip the ankles (but not the tops of the feet) with knees no wider than the width of your hips. The heels are lifted away from the buttocks and at the same time the thighs are lifted away from the earth working opposing forces as the heart center, hips and back open. The gaze is forward.

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.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

SANSKRIT: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (set-uu bahn-dah sar-VAHN-GAHS-anna)

DESCRIPTION: From a supine position, on your back, the hips are pressed up with the heels of the feet rooted into the earth close to the sits bones. The toes are actively lifted and the pelvis tucked. The thighs are parallel to the earth and the fingers are interlaced under the body with the rib cage lifted and the heart open. The back of the neck rests on the earth. The gaze is to the sky.

BENEFITS: Stretches the chest, neck, and spine. Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroids. Rejuvenates tired legs. Improves digestion. Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause. Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported. Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis.

Camel Pose

Camel Pose

SANSKRIT: Ustrasana (oosh-TRAHS-anna)

DESCRIPTION: From a kneeling position the knees are hip width apart and the thighs are perpendicular to the earth. The inner thighs are narrowed and rotated slightly inward with the buttocks engaged but not hardened. The tailbone is tucked under but the hips do not puff forward. The shins and tops of the feet are pressed firmly into the earth. The ribcage is open, along with the heart center, but the lower front ribs do not protrude sharply towards the sky. The lower back lifts the ribs away from the pelvis to keep the lower spine as long as possible. The base of the palms are pressed firmly against the soles (or heels) of the feet and the fingers are pointed toward the toes. The arms are extended straight and are turned slightly outward at the shoulder joint so the elbow creases face forward without squeezing the shoulder blades together. The neck is in a relatively neutral position, neither flexed nor extended, or (for the advanced practitioners only) the head drops back. Be careful not to strain your neck and harden your throat. The gaze is either towards the sky or towards the earth, depending upon your flexibility.

BENEFITS: Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat. Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas). Strengthens back muscles. Improves posture. Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck.

Cat Pose

Cat Pose

SANSKRIT: Marjaryasana (mar-jar-ee-AHS-anna)

DESCRIPTION: The wrists, elbows and shoulders are in one line. The abdomen is pulled in and up with the spine arched in a strong Cobra spine. The crown of the head is towards the earth and the neck is relaxed. The gaze is between the arms towards the belly.

BENEFITS: Relieves the spine and neck. Energizes the body.

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