Ashtanga Primary Series

Yoga Postures with Sarah Swindlehurst/Mulliner

YOUTUBE LINK FOR TRAILER – ‘AN INTRODUCTION TO ASHTANGA YOGA’ with Sarah Swindlehurst (DVD available from the shop)

Urdhva Vrikshasana (Ūrdhva Vṛkṣāsana) = upward tree position

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Uttanasana (Uttānāsana) = stretched Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart or feet together (Ashtanga yoga has the feet together).

Inhale and stretch the arms up above the head, lift the chest and arch slightly back. Exhale and fold forwards from your hips, sliding the hands gently down the front of the legs. Hold the legs, or ankles, and eventually place the hand both sides of the outer feet on the floor.

Inhale and stretch the spine by lifting the chest and lengthening, and then exhale bring your forehead towards the shins.

Bring a little bit of weight onto the fronts of the feet and pull up your quadriceps to strengthen around the knees.

Inhale as you come upbringing the arms above the head and exhale as you bring the arms down.

Uttanasana (Uttānāsana) = Intense Stretch

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Chaturanga Dandasana (Caturaṅga Daṇḍāsana) = Four Limbed Staff Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana, then Plank Pose, or jump back from Uttanasana. Firm your shoulder blades against your back ribs and press your tailbone toward your pubis.

With an exhalation slowly lower your torso and legs to a few inches above and parallel to the floor. There’s a tendency in this pose for the lower back to sway toward the floor and the tailbone to poke up toward the ceiling. Throughout your stay in this position, keep the tailbone firmly in place and the legs very active and turned slightly inward. Draw the pubis toward the navel.

Keep the space between the shoulder blades broad. Don’t let the elbows splay out to the sides; hold them in by the sides of the torso and push them back toward the heels. Press the bases of the index fingers firmly to the floor. Lift the top of the sternum and your head to look forward.

Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the positions in the Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose individually for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Release with an exhalation. Either lay yourself lightly down onto the floor or push strongly back to Adho Mukha Svanasana, lifting through the top thighs and the tailbone.

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Ūrdhva-Mukha-Śvānāsana) = Upward Facing Dog

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your waist so that your forearms are relatively perpendicular to the floor.

Inhale and press your inner hands firmly into the floor and slightly back, as if you were trying to push yourself forward along the floor. Then straighten your arms and simultaneously lift your torso up and your legs a few inches off the floor on an inhalation. Keep the thighs firm and slightly turned inward, the arms firm and turned out so the elbow creases face forward.

Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks.

Firm the shoulder blades against the back and puff the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Look straight ahead or tip the head back slightly, but take care not to compress the back of the neck and harden the throat.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is one of the positions in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose individually, holding it anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor or lift into Adho Mukha Svanasana with an exhalation.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Adho-Mukha-Śvānāsana) = Downward Facing Dog Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nābicakre = to the navel

Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.

Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.

Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of the pelvis.

Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.

Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It’s also an excellent yoga asana all on its own. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest in Child’s Pose.

Uttanasana (Uttānāsana) = Intense Stretch

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Uttanasana (Uttānāsana) = stretched Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart or with feet together (Ashtanga yoga has the feet together).  

Inhale and stretch the arms up above the head, lift the chest and arch slightly back. Exhale and fold forwards from your hips, sliding the hands gently down the front of the legs. Hold the legs, or ankles, and eventually place the hand both sides of the outer feet on the floor.

Inhale and stretch the spine by lifting the chest and lengthening,

and then exhale bring your forehead towards the shins.

Bring a little bit of weight onto the fronts of the feet and pull up your quadriceps to strengthen around the knees.

Hold for about three breaths.

Inhale as you come upbringing the arms above the head and exhale as you bring the arms down.

Urdhva Vrikshasana (Ūrdhva Vṛkṣāsana) = upward tree position

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart or with the feet together.

Inhale and stretch the arms up above the head. Keep the shoulders relaxed and gaze up towards the thumbs. Hold the posture for three breaths and then exhale bring the arms down to the sides.

Samasthitih (Samasthitiḥ) = Upright Standing

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Standing posture. Focus on the feet connecting with the ground/earth and strengthen up through the body without tensing any part. Lift the chest up and dip the chin slightly. Arms are long and strong. Hold this posture for three breaths and then relax.

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SUN SALUATION B

Utkatasana (Utkaṭāsana) = Wild or Diffcult Posture (Power Posture)

Dṛṣṭi: añguṣṭhamadhye = to the middle of the thumb

Uttanasana A

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart or with feet together (Ashtanga yoga has the feet together).

Inhale and stretch the arms up above the head, lift the chest and arch slightly back. Exhale and fold forwards from your hips, sliding the hands gently down the front of the legs. Hold the legs, or ankles, and eventually place the hand both sides of the outer feet on the floor.

Inhale and stretch the spine by lifting the chest and lengthening,

and then exhale bring your forehead towards the shins.

Bring a little bit of weight onto the fronts of the feet and pull up your quadriceps to strengthen around the knees.

Hold for about three breaths.

Inhale as you come upbringing the arms above the head and exhale as you bring the arms down.

Intense Stretch

Chaturanga Dandasana

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana

Adho Mukha Shvanasana

Virabhadrasana (Vīrabhadrāsana) = Warrior Posture

Dṛṣṭi: añguṣṭhamadhye = to the middle of the thumb

Stand with the feet wide apart and the hands on the hips.

Turn one foot out to the side and the other in towards it at an angle – so that the feet are 45 degrees to each over.

Bend the knee over the ankle of the foot that is turned out fully. The hips should be facing the bended leg.

Inhale and stretch the arms up above the head, hands together or shoulder distance apart if the former causes strain. Keep the legs strong and the feet firm.

Relax the shoulders and gaze up towards the thumbs (or between the hands).

Dip the chin if there is any strain on the neck and just use the eyes to look up.

Hold for three breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Do two on each side.

Chaturanga Dandasana

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana

Adho Mukha Shvanasana

Virabhadrasana (Vīrabhadrāsana) = Warrior Posture

Dṛṣṭi: añguṣṭhamadhye = to the middle of the thumb

Chaturanga Dandasana

Urdhva Mukah Shvanasana

Adho Mukha Shvanasana

Intense Stretch

Utkatasana

Standing with your feet hip distance apart or together (Ashtanga yoga has the feet together).

Inhale and raise the arms above the head. Place the hands together (Ashtanga yoga has the hands together) or keep the hands shoulder distance apart.

Exhale and sit your bottom back as though just about to sit on a chair.

Reach up and if you can bring the hands/arms above the head.

Hold this position with the hips higher than the knees (make sure the knees ARE NOT doing over the toes) for three deep breaths.

Inhale as you come up to standing. Exhale the arms down to the sides. Repeat twice more.

Samasthitih

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart or with the feet together (Ashtanga yoga has the feet together)

Focus on the feet connecting with the ground/earth and strengthen up through the body without tensing any part.

Lift the chest up and dip the chin slightly.

Arms are long and strong.

Hold this posture for three breaths and then relax.

STANDING POSTURES

Padangushthasana (Pādanguṣṭhāsana) = hold-the-big-toe-posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart.

Exhale bring the hands to the hips.

Inhale and lift the chest up and arch slightly back.

Exhale and fold forwards from your hips.

Hold the legs, or ankles, and eventually hold the big toes with the first two fingers of the hand wrapped around them.

Inhale and stretch the spine by lifting the chest and lengthening, and then exhale bring your forehead towards the shins.

Bring a little bit of weight onto the fronts of the feet and pull up your quadriceps to strengthen around the knees.

Elbows come traditionally out to the side, however to decrease any pressure on the neck and upper back/shoulder blades, move the elbows towards the legs (relaxes the shoulders more

Inhale as you come up bringing the arms above the head and exhale as you bring the arms down.

Pada Hastasana (Pāda-Hastāsana) = feet-on-hands-posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart.

Exhale bring the hands to the hips.

Inhale and lift the chest up and arch slightly back.

Exhale and fold forwards from your hips.

Place the hands under the feet with the palms up (or hold the legs/ankles if you need to).

Inhale and stretch the spine by lifting the chest and lengthening,

and then exhale bring your forehead towards the shins.

Bring a little bit of weight onto the fronts of the feet and pull up your quadriceps to strengthen around the knees.

Elbows come traditionally out to the side, however to decrease any pressure on the neck and upper back/shoulder blades, move the elbows towards the legs (relaxes the shoulders more)

Hold for about three breaths.

Inhale as you come up bringing the arms above the head and exhale as you bring the arms down

Utthita Trikonasana (Utthita-Trikoṇāsana) = triangle pose

Dṛṣṭi: hastāgre = to the tip of the hand

Stand with your feet a reasonable distance apart.

Point your right foot to the right so that the feet are 90 degrees to each other.

Inhale and bring the arms up to the sides and to shoulder height.

Keep the chest lifting as you lean to the right and exhale place the right hand lightly on the right leg (eventually holding the big toe).

Inhale and stretch the left arm upwards, and exhale gently turn your head to look up towards the left hand.

Turn the head to the side if you feel strain on your neck.

Hold here for three breaths and then inhale come up and out.

Repeat on the other side.

Parivritta Trikonasana (Parivṛtta Trikoṇāsana) = revolved triangle pose

Dṛṣṭi: hastāgre = to the tip of the hand

Stand with the feet a leg distance apart.

Turn one foot to the right and the left foot in slightly so that it is at 45 degrees to the right foot.

Inhale the arms up and the exhale twist round to the right and place the left hand lightly on the right leg – working it eventually to be on the right side of the right foot.

The right arm stretched up and you look up to the hand (if there is any strain on the neck then just look to the side or floor).

Hold for three breaths and then inhale back up and repeat on the other side.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana) = extended side angle pose

Dṛṣṭi: hastāgre = to the tip of the hand

Stand with your feet a wide distance apart.

Point your right foot to the right so that the feet are 90 degrees to each other.

Inhale and bring the arms up to the sides and to shoulder height.

Keep the chest lifting as you lean to the right and exhale place the forearm on the right thigh ( not on the knee!) or eventually place the hand down on the floor on the right side next to the foot.

Inhale and stretch the left arm upwards and along in front of the head – keep the arm and hand slightly in front of the head so no strain on the neck.

Exhale gently turn your head to look up towards the palm of the left hand.

Turn the head to the side if you feel strain on your neck.

Hold here for three breaths and then inhale come up and out.

Repeat on the other side.

Parivritta Parshvakonasana (Parivṛtta Parśvakoṇāsana) = revolved side angle pose

Dṛṣṭi: hastāgre = to the tip of the hand

Stand with your feet a wide distance apart.

Point your right foot to the right so that the feet are 90 degrees to each other.

Inhale and bring the arms up to the sides and to shoulder height.

Keep the chest lifted as you twist the body round to face the right and place the left hand down on the floor on the right side next to the foot. The shoulder is past the right knee so the hand can come down to the floor.

(This posture can be modified by first bringing the hands together into prayer in front of the body, and then twisting round to the right and placing the left upper arm on the right thigh – hands press together and the right elbow points upwards – you then look towards the elbow)

Inhale and stretch the right arm upwards and along in front of the head – keep the arm and hand slightly in front of the head so no strain on the neck.

Exhale gently turn your head to look up towards the palm of the right hand.

Turn the head to the side if you feel strain on your neck.

Hold here for three breaths and then inhale come up and out.

Repeat on the other side.

Parasarita Padottanasana (Parāsarita Pādottānāsana) = wide stance forward bend

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Stand with your feet wide apart and with the toes pointing forwards and slightly inwards.

Inhale and bring the arms out to the sides and then exhale take the hands to your hips.

Inhale and then exhale fold forwards from your hips keeping the spine lengthening.

Place the hands on the floor at shoulder distance. Aim to have the hands between the feet and tuck the elbows in slightly.

Inhale lengthen the spine by lifting the chest up, and then exhale fold from your hips, use your abdominal muscles (Uddiyana bandha too) and aim to place the head in between the hands.

Relax the neck to release tensions. Bring some weight into the fronts of the feet.

Hold here for five breaths and then slowly come up to standing on your inhale. 

Repeat once more.

Parasarita Padottanasana Parāsarita Pādottānāsana) = wide stance forward bend

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Stand with your feet wide apart and with the toes pointing forwards and slightly inwards.

Inhale and bring the arms out to the sides and then exhale take the hands to your hips.

Inhale and then exhale fold forwards from your hips keeping the spine lengthening.

Keep the hands on the hips throughout.

Inhale lengthen the spine by lifting the chest up, and then exhale fold from your hips, use your abdominal muscles (Uddiyana bandha too). Aim to bring the top of the head onto the floor – in between the legs.

Relax the neck to release tensions. Bring some weight into the fronts of the feet.

Hold here for five breaths and then slowly come up to standing on your inhale. 

Repeat once more.

Parasarita Padottanasana (Parāsarita Pādottānāsana) = wide stance forwards bend

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Stand with your feet wide apart and with the toes pointing forwards and slightly inwards.

Inhale and bring the arms out to the sides and then exhale take the hands behind you and interlink the fingers.

Inhale and then exhale fold forwards from your hips keeping the spine lengthening.

Bring your hands over towards the floor and hold where you feel a gentle stretch around your upper back and arms.

Relax the neck to release tensions. Bring some weight into the fronts of the feet.

Hold here for five breaths and then slowly come up to standing on your inhale. 

Repeat once more.

Parasarita Padottanasana (Parāsarita Pādottānāsana) = wide stance forward bend

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Stand with your feet wide apart and with the toes pointing forwards and slightly inwards.

Inhale and bring the arms out to the sides and then exhale take the hands to your hips.

Inhale and then exhale fold forwards from your hips keeping the spine lengthening.

Hold the big toes with the first two fingers (or hold the legs if you need to). Elbows point out to the sides (release the shoulders from tension).

Inhale lengthen the spine by lifting the chest up, and then exhale fold from your hips, use your abdominal muscles (Uddiyana bandha too) and aim to place the head on the floor in between the legs.

Relax the neck to release tensions. Bring some weight into the fronts of the feet.

Hold here for five breaths and then slowly come up to standing on your inhale. 

Repeat once more.

Parshvottanasana (Pārśvottānāsana) = Intense-side-stretch

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Face the right side and place the right foot about wrist distance in front.

Turn the left foot so that it is pointing towards the right, and so the hips are facing the right, along with the body.

Inhale and bring the arms up to the sides and then behind the back. Exhale and either hold the elbows (first position) or bring the hands together into a reverse prayer.

Inhale and lift the chest up to lengthen the spine.

Exhale and fold forwards from the hips whilst keeping the chest lifting.

Hold where the back is still straight and gaze to the nose (or big toe).

Dip the chin if there is any strain on the neck.

Hold for three breaths and then on the inhale slowly come up and out.

Repeat with the left foot forwards.

Utthita Hasta Padangushthasana (Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana) = stretched-hand-grasps-big-toe

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

From standing. Inhale and lift the right foot off the ground and hold either below the knee with the right hand (first version) or hold the big toe with the right first fingers wrapped around it (full version).

Exhale and ground the standing leg and foot.

Inhale and lengthen through the body and both legs.

Hold here for three breaths. try not to pull with the chin, use the abdominal muscles and Uddiyana bandha to bring you forwards. Shoulders relaxed.

Exhale fold from your hips and aim to lay the torso along the leg with the chin touching the chin.

After three breaths, inhale and bring the torso back up and then exhale release the foot/leg down to the ground.

Repeat on the other side.

Utthita Parshvasahita (Utthita Pārśvasahita) = stretched-sideward-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

From Utthita Hasta Padangushthasana,

Inhale and lift the spine up – strengthen through the legs.

Exhale and take the right foot out to the right side.

Look to the left, keeping the left hand on the hip.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Then inhale and move the leg back to centre.

And exhale as you release the leg down to the floor.

Repeat on the other/left side.

Utthita Hasta Padangushthasana B (Utthita Hasta Pādanguṣṭhāsana) = stretched-hand-grasps-big-toe

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From standing – inhale and raise the right leg up  – hold under the thigh.

Exhale as you strengthen through the body.

Inhale and straighten the right leg out (point or flex the foot)

Move your hands to the hips, keep the chest lifted and the shoulders relaxed.

Try not to lean backwards.

Hold for three to five breaths.

Inhale and then exhale as you release the leg down.

Repeat on the other side.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana) = half-bound-Lotus-intense-stretch

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start from standing.

Inhale and raise the right leg and hold the foot with both hands. You can stay here and fold forwards or move on to the next step.

Inhale and hold the foot with your left hand as you stretch your right arm up and take it behind your body/torso. Aim to hold the arm first and then hold the right foot.

If you are holding the foot, then inhale and raise the left arm up.

Exhale start to fold forwards from your hips, keeping the chest lifted and the spine long.

If you can, hold your ankle, and then eventually place the left hand on the left side of the foot.

Bring your forehead towards your shin.

Hold for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you look up.

Exhale bend the standing leg and ground your foot/leg.

Inhale come up like you went into the pose, keeping the spine long.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Utkatasana

Transition

From Utkatasana or downwards down.

Place the hands on the floor in front.

Bend your knees and on your inhale push down with your hands and hop up so that you are balancing on your hands.

Exhale in position.

To practice coming to a balance or handstand. The best way is to get used to the feeling of the weight transferring onto your hands, and to get used to being upside down. Do this by practicing one jump up straight after another –like bunny hops up. Feel the weight come onto your hands and push some weight into your fingertips (use your fingertips like suckers on the ground). When you start to feel tired, stop and relax and practice later that day or the next day. There is no use wearing yourself out as this will make the practice unmotivating.

Virabhadrasana A (Vīrabhadrāsana) = Hero Posture

Dṛṣṭi: añguṣṭhamadhye = to the middle of the thumb

Step the right foot forward and take the back foot (left) to a slight angle – 45 degrees. Front knee over the ankle.

Raise the arms and hand upwards and gaze gently at the thumbs.

Hold for three to five breaths, then inhale back up and repeat on the other side.

Virabhadrasana A (Vīrabhadrāsana) = Hero Posture

Dṛṣṭi: añguṣṭhamadhye = to the middle of the thumb

Stand with the feet wide apart and with the hands on the hips.

Turn one foot out to the side so that the feet are 90 degrees to each over.

 Bend the knee over the ankle of the foot that is turned out.

Inhale and lift the arms up parallel to the floor.

Relax the shoulders and exhale as you turn the head to gaze over the back of the hand.

Hold for three to five breaths, then inhale back up and repeat on the other side.

Transition

SITTING POSTURES

Dandasana (Daṇḍāsana) = Stick/Staff –Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Start sitting with the leg straight out in front of you.

Place the feet together so that the whole of the legs are touching each other.

Inhale and lift your chest up so it elongates the spines.

Pull your toes back towards you and engage your quadriceps by strengthening through your legs.

Place your hands by the sides of your hips.

Inhale lift your chin up and lengthen the front of your neck, then tip your chin down and lengthen up the back of the neck. Keep the front and back of your neck lengthening and then pull your chin in. This engages the chin lock – Uddiyana bandha.

Hold here with a strong body, and breathe deeply for up to ten breaths.

Exhale as you release the chin.

Transition

Paschimottanasana A (Paścimottānāsana) = Intense-Stretch-of-Back-of-Body

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start sitting with the legs out in front of you and together. Feet are together.

Inhale and lift your chest up so it elongates the spines.

Pull your toes back towards you and engage your quadriceps by strengthening through your legs.

Inhale and raise the arms up.

Exhale, fold forwards from your hip whilst keeping the spine lengthening – and reach towards your toes.

Hold where you can reach to (legs, ankles or toes).

If you can reach your toes, then hold the big toe with your first two fingers of that hand.

Drop the elbows towards the legs so that your shoulders are relaxed.

Forehead aims to be resting on your chins.

NB: When folding forwards, lead with your chest and not your head/neck/chin (so no strain on your neck).

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and out of the posture.

Transition

Paschimottanasana C (Paścimottānāsana) = Intense-Stretch-of-Back-of-Body

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start sitting with the legs out in front of you and together. Feet are together.

Inhale and lift your chest up so it elongates the spines.

Pull your toes back towards you and engage your quadriceps by strengthening through your legs.

Inhale and raise the arms up.

Exhale, fold forwards from your hip whilst keeping the spine lengthening – and reach towards your toes.

Hold where you can reach to (legs, ankles or toes).

If you can reach your toes, then hold around your feet. The thumbs are on top and the fingers under. 

Drop the elbows towards the legs so that your shoulders are relaxed.

Forehead aims to be resting on your shins and then eventually the chin on the shins. 

NB: When folding forwards, lead with your chest and not your head/neck/chin (so no strain on your neck).

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and out of the posture.

Transition

Paschimottanasana D (Paścimottānāsana) = Intense-Stretch-of-Back-of-Body

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start sitting with the legs out in front of you and together. Feet are together.

Inhale and lift your chest up so it elongates the spines.

Pull your toes back towards you and engage your quadriceps by strengthening through your legs.

Inhale and raise the arms up.

Exhale, fold forwards from your hip whilst keeping the spine lengthening – and reach towards your toes.

Hold where you can reach to (legs, ankles or toes).

If you can reach past your toes, then see if you can hold your right wrist with your left hand (alternate the wrists each time you practice) or simply interlink the fingers as far round the feet as you can.

Drop the elbows towards the legs so that your shoulders are relaxed.

Forehead aims to be resting on your shins and then eventually the chin on the shins. 

NB: When folding forwards, lead with your chest and not your head/neck/chin (so no strain on your neck).

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and out of the posture.

Transition

Purvottanasana (Pūrvottānāsana) = Intense-Stretch-of-front-of-body

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Start in a sitting position with the legs out in straight and the feet together.

Place the hands behind you at about a hand distance away, with the fingers pointing towards your body.

On your inhale, push with your hands and lift your chest and hips up as high as you can.

Stretch though your whole body down to your toes, without any straining.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Exhale as you release the posture

Transition

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimottānāsana) = Half-bound-Lotus-with-intense-stretch-of-back-of-body

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of thet

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Inhale and bring up the right foot and place it high on the left thigh.

Keep the straight leg nice and strong with the foot flexed.

Hold the right foot in the left hand and then inhale and stretch the right arm up above.

Exhale as you wrap the right arm behind you and aim to hold the left arm or if you can hold the right foot.

If you are holding the foot with the right hand, inhale and stretch up your left arm.

Exhale and fold forwards from your hips keeping the chest lifted.

Hold around your left foot (or hold the ankle/leg) with the fingers underneath the foot and the thumb on top.

Bend the elbow down towards the leg to release and drop the shoulders.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and out of the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Tiryam Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana (Tiryaṁ-Mukha Eka-Pāda Paścimottānāsana) = horizontal face position with intense stretch of back of body

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Inhale and fold the right leg so that the top of the right foot is on the floor, and besides the right hip.

The right knee is at 90 degrees to the left.

Exhale and strengthen through your left leg, push the top of the right foot down to support that side.

Inhale and stretch both arms up above your head,

Exhale and fold forwards from your hip and aim to hold the leg, or eventually hold the right wrist with the left hand (reverse the hold when doing the opposite side).

Inhale and lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale as you deepen the pose – drop your elbows towards your legs.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale up as you release.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Janu Shirshasana A (Jānu Śīrṣāsana) = head-to-knee-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Bring the right leg up so that the bottom of the foot is on the inside of the top left thigh/leg.

Strengthen through both legs.

Inhale stretching up (keep the chest lifting)

Inhale and lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale as you deepen the pose – drop your elbows towards your legs.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale up as you release.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Janu Shirshasana B (Jānu Śīrṣāsana) = head-to-knee-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Bring the right leg up and sit on the heel of the foot. The foot should be underneath the perineal floor – in between the anus and sexual organs.

The right knee is at 90 degrees to the left.

Strengthen through both legs.

Inhale stretching up (keep the chest lifting)

Exhale fold forwards and place the hands down where they can comfortably reach – aim to eventually hold the right wrist with the left hand (reverse the hold when doing the opposite side).

Inhale and lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale as you deepen the pose – drop your elbows towards your legs.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale up as you release.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Janu Shirshasana C (Jānu Śīrṣāsana) = head-to-knee-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Bring the right leg up and turn the foot so the heel is pointing upwards, and the toes of the foot are spread on the floor beneath it.

The right knee comes down towards the floor. Push some weight from the right heel into the left thigh to take some of the pressure off the toes.

The right knee is about 80 degrees to the left.

Strengthen through both legs.

Inhale stretching up (keep the chest lifting)

Exhale fold forwards and place the hands down where they can comfortably reach – aim to eventually hold the right wrist with the left hand (reverse the hold when doing the opposite side).

Inhale and lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale as you deepen the pose – drop your elbows towards your legs.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale up as you release.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Marichyasana A (Marīcyāsana) = Posture of Marichi

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Bring the right leg up and place the foot on the outside of your right buttock/hip. The knee points upwards.

Strengthen through your left leg and inhale as you raise the right arm up – lift your chest – lengthening the spine.

Exhale as you take the right arm and wrap it around your right leg and behind your back.

Take your left arm behind your back also and see if you can hold your hands (eventually holding the right wrist).

Inhale as you lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale as you fold forwards from your hips. Aim to lay the body along the left leg with your chin resting on the shin.

Fold forwards by leading with your chest rather than pulling with your head or neck.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale up and out of the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Marichyasana B (Marīcyāsana) = Posture of Marichi

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start in a sitting position with the legs straight out in front.

Firstly bring up your left foot and place it on the top of the right thigh. For an easier version place the foot under the thigh on the floor.

Bring the right leg up so that the knee is bent and place it in front of the right thigh or in front of the ankle of the left foot (if foot on the floor)

Strengthen through both legs – ground the feet/foot.

Inhale as you raise the right arm up – lift your chest – lengthening the spine.

Exhale as you take the right arm and wrap it around your right leg and behind your back.

Take your left arm behind your back also and see if you can hold your hands (eventually holding the right wrist).

Inhale as you lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale as you fold forwards from your hips. Aim to bring your forehead down to the floor, and eventually your chin down to the floor.

Fold forwards by leading with your chest and using your abdominal muscles rather than pulling with your head or neck.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale up and out of the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Marichyasana C (Marīcyāsana) = Posture of Marichi

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

Start sitting with the legs out in front.

Bend the right knee up and place the sole of the foot close to the knee.

Hold the right shin with both hands.

Inhale and stretch the right arm up and then exhale as you place the hand on the floor behind you at about a hand distance away.

Inhale and raise the left arm up and then exhale place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee.

Inhale lengthen up through the spine (use the back arm/hand to lift you up rather than to lean onto it) and exhale twist round to look over your right shoulder.

Look into the far corners of the rights of the eyes.

The advanced version to this is when you take your left shoulder past your right knee and then wrap your left hand around the leg and behind your back.

Then you would strengthen through the legs as you take your right hand off the floor to hold the left hand behind.

Hold here for up to three to five breaths and then exhale as you release the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Marichyasana D (Marīcyāsana) = Posture of Marichi

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

Start sitting with the legs out in front.

Firstly bring up your left foot and place it on the top of the right thigh. For an easier version place the foot under the thigh on the floor.

Bring the right leg up so that the knee is bent and place it in front of the right thigh or in front of the ankle of the left foot (if foot on the floor).

Hold the right shin in front.

Inhale and stretch the right arm up and then exhale as you place the hand on the floor behind you at about a hand distance away.

Inhale and raise the left arm up and then exhale place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee.

Inhale lengthen up through the spine (use the back arm/hand to lift you up rather than to lean onto it) and exhale twist round to look over your right shoulder.

Look into the far corners of the rights of the eyes.

The advanced version to this is when you take your left shoulder past your right knee and then wrap your left hand around the leg and behind your back.

Then you would strengthen through the legs as you take your right hand off the floor to hold the left hand behind.

Hold here for up to three to five breaths and then exhale as you release the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Navasana (Nāvāsana) = Boat-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

Start sitting with the legs out in front.

Inhale and lift the chest to lengthen up through the spine.

Engage the abdominal muscles and then lift the legs off the floor.

You can either bend the legs for the easier version (bring the feet towards the floor to make it even easier) or straighten the legs for the full version. YOU MUST KEEP THE CHEST LIFTED.

Relax the shoulders.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Exhale release down.

Repeat up to four times more.

Transition

Bhuja Pidasana (Bhuja-Pīḍāsana) = Arm-Pressure-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

You can either move into this posture from Titibasana posture (as in the Ashtanga practice) or come into this posture simply from standing.

Inhale and step or jump the feet around the hands – the hands are flat and the fingers are pointing forwards.

Bend your elbows back and squat the bottom down so that you are resting your upper legs on your upper arms.

Walking the feet closer together in front and eventually cross the ankles.

Inhale and lift the feet off the floor and come to a balance on your hands.

Keep the arms strong and the legs engaged.

Exhale and lean forwards the place your forehead (eventually the chin) on the floor in front. The feet go through the legs and are off the floor.

If you need to keep the feet on the ground as you lend forwards.

Hold here for three to five breaths and then inhale up and out – the reverse way of how you entered the posture.

Transition

Kurmasana (Kūrmāsana) = Turtle-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

You can either move into this posture from Titibasana posture (as in the Ashtanga practice) or come into this posture simply from sitting.

If you enter the posture from Titibasana, lower down into this posture slowly and carefully on your exhale.

From sitting – open the legs wide and then bend the knees up slightly.

Inhale and lengthen through your body,

Exhale lead forwards from your hips and see if you can position your shoulders under your knees.

Inhale again and lengthen your spine,

Then exhale push your feet away and out to the sides. This will assist you to bring the torso down also (keep spine long).

Engage the legs and flex the feet, push your hands and arms down into the ground.

If you can lift the feet up so that the legs are balanced on your arms, and lift the bottom off the floor also.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Exhale as you release and inhale as you come up and out of the posture.

Transition

Supta Kurmasana (Supta-Kūrmāsana) = Sleeping-Turtle-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Transition

Tittibhasana A (Ṭiṭṭibhāsana) = Posture-of-the-Tittibha-Bird

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

You can jump into this posture from downwards dog, or come into it from standing.

If you jump into the posture, jump so that your upper legs are on your upper arms, and then straighten out your legs – engage the quadriceps to keep the body engaged.

Lift the chest.

From standing inhale and step the feet around the hands – the hands are flat and the fingers are pointing forwards.

Bend your elbows back and squat the bottom down so that you are resting your upper legs on your upper arms.

Inhale and lift your feet off the floor.

Exhale and push your hands into the floor and strengthen the arms.

Inhale and straighten out the legs and lift the chest.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

To come out you can move into Kurmasana from here, or just bring your feet down and unwind out of the posture gently.

Transition

Bakasana (Bakāsana) = Crane- Posture

You can jump into this posture from downwards dog, or come into it from standing.

If coming into the posture from standing, simply position the hands on the floor with the finger pointing forwards.

Walk the legs up and nest the knees into the armpits or just to the sides of the upper arms.

Inhale and tip slightly forwards and lift the feet off the floor.

You must engage your abdominal muscles and Mula bandha as you do this.

Inhale and then exhale as you tilt further forwards and lift the feet up behind higher.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Release slowly down as you exhale.

Transition

Garbha Pindasana (Garbha Piṇḍāsana) = Embryo-in-Womb-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

OR

This posture is easier if you are sweaty or by squirting your legs and arms with water before sliding the arms through the legs.

From sitting.

For the full posture – bring the legs into lotus posture.

Inhale and lift the legs/knees off the floor – use your hand on the floor for support if you need to.

Exhale and first guide your right arm through the right gap in the middle of the folded legs.

Then guide your left arm through the left hand gap in the legs.

Inhale and lift the chest and strengthen the pose.

Exhale and bring your hands to your chin and cup your chin.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale look up and exhale as you release the posture.

Transition

Kukkutasana (Kukkuṭāsana) = Rooster-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

This posture is easier if you are sweaty or by squirting your legs and arms with water before sliding the arms through the legs.

Start from sitting.

For the full posture – bring the legs into lotus posture.

Inhale and lift the legs/knees off the floor – use your hand on the floor for support if you need to.

Exhale and first guide your right arm through the right gap in the middle of the folded legs.

Then guide your left arm through the left hand gap in the legs.

Inhale and lift the chest and strengthen the pose.

Exhale and place the hands on the floor.

Inhale push forwards and lift the body off the floor – slightly leaning forwards. 

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale look up and exhale as you release the posture.

Baddha Konasana A (Baddha Koṇāsana) = Bound-Angle-Seat

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From sitting.

Bring the feet together in front of you as close to your groin as possible, and place the soles of the feet together.

Have the fingers wrapped around the tops of the feet and the thumbs underneath.

Hold the feet strongly as you inhale and lift the chest,

Exhale and fold forwards from your hips, perhaps gently pushing the legs/thighs downwards with your elbow/lower arms.

Inhale and lift your chest to lengthen the body again,

Exhale and come forwards more, eventually bring your forehead to the floor in front of the feet, then eventually your chin.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and out of the pose.

Transition

Baddha Konasana B (Baddha Koṇāsana) = Bound-Angle-Seat

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From sitting.

Bring the feet together in front of you as close to your groin as possible, and place the soles of the feet together.

Have the fingers wrapped around the tops of the feet and the thumbs underneath.

Hold the feet strongly as you inhale and lift the chest,

Exhale and bend your back so that your head comes down towards your feet, perhaps gently pushing the legs/thighs downwards with your elbow/lower arms.

Hold here with your back bending yet lifting upwards for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and out of the posture.

Transition

Baddha Konasana C (Baddha Koṇāsana) = Bound-Angle-Seat

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From sitting.

Bring the feet together in front of you as close to your groin as possible, and place the soles of the feet together.

Have the fingers wrapped around the tops of the feet and the thumbs underneath.

Hold the feet strongly as you inhale and lift the chest,

Exhale and perhaps gently push the legs/thighs downwards with your elbow/lower arms and/or turn the feet open like a book.

Inhale and lift your chest to lengthen the body again,

Exhale as you open up the groin bringing the knees towards the floor, and hold.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you release the pose.

Transition

Upavishtha Konasana A (Upaviṣṭha Koṇāsana) = Seated-Angle-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From sitting:

Place the feet a wide distance apart on the floor.

Flex the feet by pulling the toes back towards you and engage the quadriceps.

Inhale and raise your arms up above the head and stretch though your body.

Exhale and fold forwards from your hips and reach towards the toes/feet.

Hold where you can reach, and keep the chest lifted. Eventually, place the hands around the feet with the fingers underneath and the thumbs on top of the feet.

Over time, work the belly, then the chest and then the chin to the floor (progressing in this way helps to lengthen the spine).

Hold for three to five breaths and then inhale come up and out of the pose.

Transition

Upavishtha Konasana B (Upaviṣṭha Koṇāsana) = Seated-Angle-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: ūrdhvadṛṣṭi = upwards

From sitting or from Upavishtha Konasana A.

Hold the big toes of each foot with your first two fingers.

Inhale and lift the legs (either bent or straight) off the floor and lengthen through the legs.

Lift the spine by lifting the chest up.

Hold here whilst balancing on your bottom for three to five breaths.

Exhale lower the legs down.

Transition

Supta Konasana (Koṇāsana) = Lying-Angle-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From lying on your back.

Inhale and reach to your toes and hold the big toes with the first two fingers.

Exhale and roll back, taking the feet over the head and on the floor behind you.

Bring the hips over the shoulders and lift up your spine so not to collapse in the back.

Keep the legs and back strong and engaged as you hold for three to five breaths.

To come out you can either roll gently down again, or take a deep inhale and roll back up to balancing on your bottom (into Upavishtha Konasana B) and then release the feet.

Transition

Supta Padangushthasana A (Supta Pādānguṣṭhāsana) = Lying-Big Toe-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

From lying on your back.

Both legs are straight. Inhale and first raise the right leg off the floor and take hold of the big toe with the first two fingers (or hold around the leg/ankle instead).

Strengthen through the left leg and flex the foot.

On your exhale, lift your chest off the floor and bring the right down towards you.

If you can bring your forehead to your shin, or your chin to your shin.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Release back down (or move on to Supta Padangushthasana B) on your inhale and release the leg as you exhale.

Repeat on the left side.

Transition

Supta Padangushthasana B (Supta Pādānguṣṭhāsana) = Lying-Big Toe-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

From Supta Padangushthasana A.

Inhale and bring your head to the floor.

Exhale as you open your right leg to the side and turn your head to face the left.

Your left arm is down and on top of the left leg.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you bring the leg back to the centre and exhale as you release the leg down.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Ubhaya Padangushthasana (Ubhaya Pādānguṣṭhāsana) = Both-Big Toe-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: ūrdhvadṛṣṭi = upwards

You can enter this posture via the transition posture of holding the big toes and rolling on to your back with the feet over the head and then inhaling rolling up into the posture. Or you can simply lift the feet off the floor from a sitting position.

Lengthen through your body and the legs. Lift the chest up. Feet are together and the arms are straight.

Hold here for three to five breaths, gazing upwards.

Transition

Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (Ūrdhva-Mukha Paścimottānāsana) = Face-upward-stretch-of-back of body

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

You can enter this posture via the transition posture of holding around the feet (fingers underneath the feet and thumbs on top) and rolling on to your back with the feet over the head and then inhaling rolling up into the posture. Or you can simply lift the feet off the floor from a sitting position.

Inhale as you lengthen the spine and exhale draw the legs towards you and your forehead (or chin) toward the shins. Try not to pull with the neck and relax your shoulders.

Hold here for three to five breaths,

Exhale release the legs down.

Transition

Setu Bandhasana (Setu Bandhāsana) = Bridge-build-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From a lying position.

Place the heels together and turn the toes out to the sides, like Charlie Chaplin.

Move your bottom up the mat a bit and place the top of your head on the floor.

Use your hands and arms to support you as you make this transition.

Inhale and then exhale roll onto the forehead and straighten the legs.

Fold the arms across your chest and keep the chest lifted.

Push the weight your body so it is not just on your head.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Release down very gently on your exhale and support the transition with your hands.

Transition

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Ūrdhva Dhanurāsana) = Upward-directed-bow-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From lying position.

Place the feet so that the knees are bent and the soles of the feet are on the floor and hip distance apart.

Then place your hands besides your head so that the elbows are bent upwards and the fingers pointing towards you.

Inhale and push with the hands and feet, strengthen the legs, and lift the body upwards towards the ceiling/sky.

Keep the arms and legs strong throughout. Spread the weight through the body.

Hold for three to five breaths and then exhale release slowly back down.

You can repeat this three to five times.

Transition

Chakrasana (Cakrāsana) = Wheel-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Paschimottanasana

 FINISHING POSTURES

Salamba Sarvangasana Sālamba Sarvāṅgāsana) = supported-all-limbs-pose

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From lying.

On the inhale push you bottom off the ground and place your hands on your hips or back.

Walk the hands up the back and lift your body towards.

Strengthen through your legs and body, lift them upwards and keep all strong.

Make sure the weight is spread across the shoulders and into the arms, not on the neck.

Hold here for up to 20 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly and gently release/roll the body back down again OR go into Halasana posture from shoulder stand.

Halasana (Halāsana) = plough pose

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Usually done from Shoulder Stand Posture (Salamba Sarvangasana).

From Shoulder Stand, exhale and lower the feet down to behind the head.

Place the tops of the feet on the floor and lengthen though the legs. You can keep the feet on a chair or off the chair as a easier variation to this also.

Inhale and lift the back up and keep it strong, and then interlink the fingers and place the arms along the floor.

Strengthen through the arms to keep the body structure safe.

Hold here for three to five breaths and then roll down gently, supporting your back with your hands as you do.

You can also move into Karna Pidasana from this posture if you prefer.

Karna Pidasana (Karṇa-Pīḍāsana) = ear-pressure-pose

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From Halasana posture, on the exhale bend the knees down and place them next to the ears.

Push the knees into the ears to block all sound out.

Focus just on your breathing for three to five breaths.

From here go into Urdhva Padmasana or simply come out gently as you exhale,rolling down gently, supporting your back with your hands as you do.

Urdhva Padmasana (Ūrdhva-Padmāsana) = upward lotus

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Enter this posture from Karna Pidasana.

Inhale and bring your legs and knees up as though going into Shoulder Stand posture.

Cross the legs or plave them in lotus.

Place your hands underneath your knees and straighten the arms.

Balance your weight across your shoulders and upper back, not directly on your neck.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

From here go into Pindasana or simply come out gently as you exhale,rolling down gently, supporting your back with your hands as you do.

Pindasana (Piṇḍāsana) = embryo pose

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Enter this posture from Urdhva Padmasana.

On your exhale curl your knees around your face.

Hug around your legs also.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

From here go into Matsyasana and/or simply come out gently as you exhale,rolling down gently, supporting your back with your hands as you do.

Matsyasana (Matsyāsana) = fish pose

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From lying.

Place the legs in lotus or crossed legged and lower the body down onto your forearms.

Inhale and lift your chest upwards. Place the top of the head on the floor or just off the floor.

Stay supported on your forearms or if your top of head is on the floor and you are in lotus you can hold the feet.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Exhale as you release the posture and relax down, or move into Uttana Padasana.

Transition

Uttana Padasana (Uttāna Pādāsana) = intense leg pose

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From lying or from Matsyasana.

Lower the body down onto your forearms and lift your chest.

Inhale and lift your chest upwards. Place the top of the head on the floor or just off the floor.

Stay supported on your forearms or if your top of head is on the floor lift the feet off the floor also. Lengthening through the legs

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Release the posture immediately if you feel pulling or straining on your back.

Exhale as you release the posture and relax down

Transition

Shirshasana A (Śīrṣāsana) = headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From kneeling.

Place the hands on the floor in front of you, elbow distance apart and interlink the fingers.

Then place the very top of your head on the floor and nested into your hands.

Straighten the legs and start to transfer the weight to your arms, shoulders, upper back and a little on the head.

Stay here, or walk the feet towards your head.

Stay here and breathe, or gently lift one foot and then the other off the ground.

Do this posture in stages as you build your confidence up.

Eventually jump both feet up and slowly straighten the legs upwards.

Hold wherever comfortable for up to ten breaths.

Exhale as you lower down and come out.

Enter Childs pose to release any pressure placed on the neck (stay for five breaths in Childs pose).

Shirshasana (Śīrṣāsana) = upward headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nābicakre = to the navel

This is from Head Stand (Shirshasana).

On the exhale, lower your legs down half way and hold for five breaths.

Inhale them back up into Head Stand or lower them down and come out of the pose.

Enter Childs pose to release any pressure placed on the neck (stay for five breaths in Childs pose).

Balasana (Bālāsana) = Childs pose

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Enter this posture after Head Stand (Shirshasana) or from kneeling.

You can part the knees a little but place the feet/toes together.

Inhale, and then exhale as you fold forwards and place the forehead on the ground in front.

Stay here breathing deeply (especially into the back of the body) for five or more breaths.

Inhale as you come out and up to kneeling.

Transition

Baddha Padmasana (Baddha Padmāsana) = bound lotus

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From sitting.

Cross the legs or have them in lotus or half lotus pose.

In full posture – lotus pose, inhale and lift the chest and then exhale cross the arms around the back of your body. Hold the toes/feet if you can.

Exhale as you fold forwards and place the forehead or chin on the floor in front.

In crossed legged/half lotus pose. Inhale and interlink the fingers behind the back.

Exhale fold forwards the bring the arms/hands up and over the head.

Place the forehead or chin on the floor in front.

Hold in whichever posture for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up and exhale as you release the hands.

Yoga Mudra (Yoga-Mudrā) = symbol for yoga

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Padmasana (Padmāsana) = lotus seat

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From sitting.

Sitting in crossed legged pose, half lotus or full lotus pose.

Bring the thumb and the first finger together and place your wrists on your knees.

Palms are facing upwards.

Place Jalandhara bandha (chin lock) on – by looking up and stretching the front of the neck, then dipping down the chin to stretch up the back of the neck, and then pulling your chin in.

Lift the chest, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

Stay focused on your breath for at least 10 breaths.

When you are ready, open the eyes and blink a few times.

Then inhale as you bring your head up and look around.

Utplutih (Utplutiḥ) = uprooting

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From sitting.

Sitting in crossed legged pose, half lotus or full lotus pose.

Place the hands by the sides of your hips.

Inhale and lift your body/bottom off the floor and hold up for as many breaths as you can.

Lower down as you exhale.

Transition

Shavasana (Śavāsana) = corpse pose

Relaxation

Lie on your back with your hands at the sides and the palms facing upwards.

Allow the feet to drift out to the sides.

Take three deep breaths, in through your nose and then out through your mouth.

Allow the body to relax with every exhale.

Now let every thing relax and release.

Lie here for at least ten minutes, just focusing on the body releasing and relaxing on the exhales, and releasing tensions as you scan the body.

Focus on a calm very gentle breath.