Ashtanga Second Series

SECOND SERIES POSTURES – ASHTANGA YOGA

Yoga postures with Sarah Swindlehurst/Mulliner

YOUTUBE LINKS FOR SECOND SERIES POSTURE EXAMPLES – with Sarah Swindlehurst/Mulliner:

SEVEN HEADSTANDS,

WALKOVERS – BACKBENDS,

BACKBENDING (Ushtrasana & Laghu Vajrasana‘s A & B)

The first part of the sequence is the same as the first series, until you come to the sitting postures, which then change to the sequence below.

Pashasana (Pāśāsana) = Noose-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

Place the feet together and move first the right foot slightly more forwards. Inhale and lengthen the body and stretch the left arm around the right side of the legs.

Aim to take the left arm around the front of the legs and behind the back, and then the right arm behind (to the right).

Hold the hands behind the back or hold the right wrist.

Turn as you exhale and look over the right shoulder.

Hold this posture for three to five breaths.

Exhale as you release from the posture.

Transition

Krounchasana (Krouncāsana) = Heron-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

From sitting.

Bend the right leg back so that the top of the foot is on the floor pushing downwards. The heel should be next to the right hip.

Straighten the left leg and on your inhale raise it up and hold with your hands.

Hold around the foot with your hands (hold the right wrist with the left hand eventually) or hold the ankle/leg.

Inhale to lengthen up the body and the leg, and then exhale as you bring the leg towards you and the body towards the leg.

Aim to have the chin on the shin, or the forehead on the shin.

Do not pull forwards with the head or neck, use your abdominal strength.

Keep the shoulders relaxed.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Exhale as you release the leg down from the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Shalabhasana A (Śalabhāsana) = Locust-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From lying on your front.

Place your forehead on the ground and the arms by the sides of your body.

Inhale and lift the chest and head off the floor.

At the same time lift the legs off the floor also.

Hands are still on the floor with the palms facing upwards.

Lengthen through your whole body and try not to bend the knees.

Hold here for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release and relax down.

You can also move straight into Shalabhasana B from this posture.

Transition

Shalabhasana B (Śalabhāsana) = Locust-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From lying.

You can move into this posture from Shalabhasana A also.

Place your forehead on the ground and the arms by the sides of your body.

Inhale and lift the chest and head off the floor.

At the same time lift the legs off the floor also.

Exhale and place the hands next to your upper hips with the fingers facing forwards and the elbows bending backwards. Lift the chest higher using the hands pushing downwards.

Lengthen through your whole body and try not to bend the knees.

Hold here for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release the pose.

Transition

Bhekasana (Bhekāsana) = Frog-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Place your forehead on the ground and the hands on the floor in front.  

Inhale and lift the chest and head off the floor, bend the legs so that the feet come up towards you also.  

Reach back towards your feet and hold them with your hands.

Eventually, work towards placing the hands on top of the feet, with the fingers facing forwards and the elbows backwards.

Push the feet down (aim to have them besides the body eventually) and lift the chest higher.

Hold here for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release the pose.

Transition

Dhanurasana (Dhanurāsana) = Bow-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From lying on your front body.

Inhale and lift your body up and reach back towards your feet.

Hold the ankles with your hands – hands on the outsides of the legs/ankles.

Inhale and lift your chest up and off the ground and at the same time pull your legs up and off the ground.

Push your legs into your hands also to balance in this posture.

Keeping lifting up through the body for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release down.

You can do this up to three times if you wish, or move into Parshva Dhanurasana.

Parshva Dhanurasana (Pārśva Dhanurāsana) = Sideways-Bow-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: ūrdhvadṛṣṭi = upwards

Move into this posture from Dhanurasana.

As you exhale roll onto the right side whilst maintaining the strong Dhanurasana posture.

Hold here on the side for up to five breaths.

Inhale as you pull up the posture into the centre (Dhanurasana) and then repeat the posture on the left – rolling down to the left on the exhale.

Inhale back up to Dhanurasana and then exhale and release the pose.

Transition

Ushtrasana (Uṣṭrāsana) = Camel-Pose

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From kneeling.

Inhale and lift up off the feet.

Lift the chest and keep it lifted throughout the posture.

Exhale as you lean back and hold the feet or the ankles with your hands (you can do this posture holding with just one hand at a time if you prefer).

Push the hips forwards so that the hips are over the knees still and drop the head back gently.

Keep lifting the chest as this will take any pressure off the lower back.

Hold here for up to five breaths.

To come out, release the feet/ankles and pull forwards on your inhale, by using your thigh (quadricep) muscles and lead with your chest and not your head/neck.

Sit down as you exhale.

Laghu Vajrasana (Laghu-Vajrāsana) = Little-Thunderbolt-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From kneeling.

Inhale and lift up off the feet.

Lift the chest and keep it lifted throughout the posture.

Exhale as you lean back and hold the ankles with your hands.

Keep lifting the chest as this will take any pressure off the lower back.

Lower the top of your head to the floor – keep lifting the chest and arching the back strongly (not tense though).

Hold here for up to five breaths.

To come out, release the feet/ankles, push with your hands on your feet, and pull forwards (on your inhale) by using your thigh (quadricep) muscles and lead with your chest and not your head/neck.

Sit down as you exhale.

From kneeling.

Inhale and lift up off the feet.

Lift the chest and keep it lifted throughout the posture.

Exhale as you lean back and reach towards the knees.

Keep lifting the chest as this will take any pressure off the lower back.

Lower the top of your head to the floor – keep lifting the chest and arching the back strongly (not tense though).

Hold here for up to five breaths.

To come out, release the knees, push with your hands off your legs, and pull forwards (on your inhale) by using your thigh (quadricep) muscles and lead with your chest and not your head/neck.

Sit down as you exhale.

Kapotasana (Kapotāsana) = Pigeon-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From kneeling.

Inhale and lift up off the feet.

Lift the chest and keep it lifted throughout the posture.

Exhale as you lean back and take the hands/arms above the head and over the head.

Keep lifting the chest as this will take any pressure off the lower back.

Reach towards and take hold of your ankles.

Lower the top of your head to the floor – keep lifting the chest and arching the back strongly (not tense though).

Hold here for up to five breaths.

To come out, release the feet/ankles, push with your hands on your feet, and pull forwards (on your inhale) by using your thigh (quadricep) muscles and lead with your chest and not your head/neck.

Sit down as you exhale.

Kapotasana (Kapotāsana) = Pigeon-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From kneeling.

Inhale and lift up off the feet.

Lift the chest and keep it lifted throughout the posture.

Exhale as you lean back and take the hands/arms above the head and over the head.

Keep lifting the chest as this will take any pressure off the lower back.

Place your hands on the floor just in front of the feet. Have the fingers facing the feet. Lengthen through the arms.

Keep lifting the chest and arching the back strongly (not tense though).

Hold here for up to five breaths.

To come out, release the feet/ankles, push with your hands on your feet, and pull forwards (on your inhale) by using your thigh (quadricep) muscles and lead with your chest and not your head/neck.

Sit down as you exhale.

Transition

Bakasana (Bakāsana) = Crane- Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

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

Bharadvajasana (Bharadvājāsana) Posture-of-Bharadvaja

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

From sitting.

Firstly bend the left leg and place the heel besides the left hip.

Inhale and bring up your right foot and place it on top of the left thigh.

Exhale and place your left hand under your right knee (palm down) with the fingers pointing under the knee and towards you.

Inhale and stretch the right arm around your back and exhale as you reach to hold the right foot.

Inhale and lift the chest and exhale twist around to your right.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Exhale and release the pose.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Ardha Matsyendrāsana) = Posture-of-Matsyendra

Dṛṣṭi: pārśvadṛṣṭi = sidewards

From sitting.

Inhale and bring up your left leg.

Exhale as you bend the knee so that the left foot sits beside the right hip.

Inhale as you bring up the right leg with the knee bent.

Exhale as you position the foot on the left side of the left leg.

Inhale and reach up through the left arm and wrap it over the right leg with the shoulder on the right side of the knee.

Hold the left side of the right foot with the left hand.

Inhale, and then exhale as you wrap your right arm behind you and aim to place the right hand on the left thigh (top).

Inhale as you lengthen up the spine and then exhale as you twist into the pose, around to the right.

Hold the pose for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release from the posture.

Repeat on the other side.

Transition

Eka Pada Shirshasana (Eka-Pāda Śīrṣāsana) = One-Foot-behind-Head-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Transition

From sitting.

Keep the body lifted and strong throughout.

Inhale as you bring up the right foot and hold it in both hands.

Strengthen through the left leg and keep the foot flexed throughout the pose.

Exhale and move the right leg side to side to warm up the hip joint.

NEVER STRAIN TO GET INTO A POSTURE, EASE INTO IT OVER TIME AND PRACTICE.

Inhale as you raise the right leg up towards your forehead and take the leg a little out to the side.

Inhale and lengthen the body and then exhale see if you can move the right foot behind the head and neck.

The shoulder is in front of the right leg.

Strengthen the left leg and lift the chest (be careful not to drop the spine and but pressure on the lower back here).

Bring the hands together into prayer in front of your heart.

Stay here for three to five breaths.

Then (optional), on your exhale lean forwards and take hold of your left leg or foot with both hands.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Inhale as you come up from the posture and then exhale as you release the leg from behind.

Repeat with the other leg.

Transition

Yoga Nidrasana (Yoga-Nidrāsana) = Yoga-Sleep-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

From lying.

Lie down on your back and first bring up the left leg as you inhale.

Hold the left foot with both hands and slowly (as you exhale) move the foot behind your head/neck.

The shoulder is in front of the left leg.

Inhale and then bring up the right leg and slowly tuck it behind the left ankle (and behind your head/neck).

Move your shoulders through the legs more.

Inhale as you lengthen your body and then exhale as you reach with both hands to behind the back and hold the hands.

Relax and breathe here for three to five breaths.

To come out (on your exhale), gently move your right leg out and then your left.

Roll over or up.

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

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

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From standing with the feet wider than the hips. 

Start with the hands on the hips and then inhale and left the chest.

Exhale as you fold forwards from your hips keeping the spine long.

Inhale and then exhale move the upper body through the legs and aim to wrap the arms around the legs and hold the hands behind the back.

Inhale land engthen the body and then exhale see if you can move deeper into the posture and through the legs.

Hold here for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release from the posture and inhale back to standing upright, or move walk the feet five steps forwards and then back, and/or then move onto the next posture: Tittibhasana C 

Transition

Transition

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

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From standing with the feet wider than the hips. 

Start with the hands on the hips and then inhale and left the chest.

Exhale as you fold forwards from your hips keeping the spine long.

Inhale and then exhale move the upper body through the legs and then bring the feet towards each other so the heels are touchig (eventually).

Exhale as you wrap your arms and hands around the ankles. 

Inhale and lengthen the body and then exhale see if you can move deeper into the posture and through the legs.

Hold here for up to five breaths.

Exhale as you release from the posture and inhale back to standing upright.

Pincha Mayurasana (Pinca Mayūrāsana) = Posture-of-the-Peacock’s Feather

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From Kneeling.

Place your hands on the floor in front, and place the forearms down also with the elbows sticking out to the sides slightly (just wider than the hands).

Straighten the legs as though going into a downwards dog variation.

Look slightly in front of your hands.

Inhale walk the feet up towards your hands and then on another inhale, jump the feet up (sorry no easy way but to go for it!).

Exhale and push the forearms and hands down, and slightly push into the fingertips.

Inhale as you lengthen up the body and bring the feet a little further over the head, arching the back slightly to counter balance the pose.

Hold for up to five breaths and then exhale as you lower down gently.

Transition

Karandavasana (Karāndāvāsana) = Posture-of-the-Himalayan-Duck

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

Transition

Mayurasana (Mayūrāsana) = Peacock-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From kneeling.

Place the hands on the floor in front of you with the fingers pointing back towards you.

Allow the elbows to bend towards you also.

Transfer your weight into the hands and pull the elbows in towards each other.

Lean forwards and position your upper arms and elbows into the sides of your body. Strengthen your abdomen/core when you do this.

Hold the arms strongly into your sides and lengthen your body out.

This is a balance that can take some practice.

Push the weight of your body forwards and then lift the legs up off the ground (you can lift one foot off the ground at a time).

When you are balanced, hold this posture for up to five breaths.

Lower the legs, then knees to the floor as you exhale and come out of the pose.

Transition

Nakrasana (Nakrāsana) = Crocodile-Posture

Vatayasana (Vātāyāsana) = Horse-Posture

Parighasana (Parighāsana) = Posture-of-good-Omen

Gomukhasana A (Gomukhāsana) = Cow-Head-Posture

Gomukhasana B (Gomukhāsana) = Cow-Head-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: ūrdhvadṛṣṭi = upwards

From sitting.

Inhale and position the left foot on the right side of the right hip.

Exhale as you position the right leg over the left and place the right foot next to the left hip.

Aim to have both sitting bones on the ground.

Inhale as you bring both arms up and out to the sides.

Exhale as you take the right arm up and the left arm under, and bring the hands together behind the back. (You can also use a towel or belt to hold the hands nearer each other)

Inhale as you lift the chest and exhale as you relax the shoulders.

Breathe here for three to five breaths.

Inhale and then exhale as you release and come out of the pose.

Transition

Supta Urdhva Pada Vajrasana (Supta Ūrdhva Pāda Vajrāsana) = Sleeping-Upward-Lifting-Leg-Thunderbolt

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

From Sitting.

Bend the left leg and place the left foot next to the left hip.

Inhale and bring up the right foot and as you exhale, place it on the left thigh as high as you can.

Inhale and stretch your right arm up and around the back of your body.

Exhale as you hold the right foot.

Inhale as you stretch the left arm forwards and exhale as you place it under the right side of the right knee, with the fingers pointing towards you.

Lift the chest and lengthen the spine as you inhale.

Exhale as you twist around to look over the right shoulder.

Hold here for three to five breaths.

Release as you exhale.

Repeat on the other side.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana A (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Free-Hand-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

THESE ADVANCED POSTURES MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER

From kneeling.

Place the hands on the floor at shoulder distance apart.

Place the very top of the head on the floor, upper arm distance away from the hands.

Bend the elbows away from you (see picture).

Straighten the legs up and walk them towards the hands.

Lift one leg up at a time or both legs.

Whist lifting the legs on your inhale, push the hands into the ground and strengthen the arms.

The pressure should be spread through the arms and the upper back, not just directly on the head/neck.

Lengthen up through the whole body and pull the feet upwards.

Hold here for up to 10 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly bend at the hips and lower the feet to the ground.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana B (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Free-Hand-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

THESE ADVANCED POSTURES MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER

From kneeling.

Place the very top of the head on the floor and stretch the arms out in front.

Place the backs of the hands on the floor and push into the backs of the hands. The arms must be held strongly throughout this posture.

Straighten the legs up and walk them towards the hands.

Lift one leg up at a time or both legs.

Whist lifting the legs on your inhale, push the hands into the ground and strengthen the arms.

The pressure should be spread through the arms and the upper back, not just directly on the head/neck.

Lengthen up through the whole body and pull the feet upwards.

Hold here for up to 10 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly bend at the hips and lower the feet to the ground.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana C (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Free-Hand-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

THESE ADVANCED POSTURES MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER

From kneeling.

Place the very top of the head on the floor and stretch the arms out to the sides.

Place the palms of the hands on the floor and push into the hands. The arms must be held strongly throughout this posture.

Straighten the legs up and walk them towards the hands.

Lift one leg up at a time or both legs.

Whist lifting the legs on your inhale, push the hands into the ground and strengthen the arms.

The pressure should be spread through the arms and the upper back, not just directly on the head/neck.

Lengthen up through the whole body and pull the feet upwards.

Hold here for up to 10 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly bend at the hips and lower the feet to the ground.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana A (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Bound-Hands-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

As in Primary

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana B (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Bound-Hands-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

THESE ADVANCED POSTURES MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER

From kneeling.

Place the very top of the head on the floor and fold the arms in front of your face, holding your elbows. 

Strengthen through the arms and push the forearms firmly down into the ground.  The arms must be held strongly throughout this posture.

Straighten the legs up and walk them towards the hands.

Lift one leg up at a time or both legs.

Whist lifting the legs on your inhale, push the arms into the ground and strengthen through the back.

The pressure should be spread through the arms and the upper back, not just directly on the head/neck.

Lengthen up through the whole body and pull the feet upwards.

Hold here for up to 10 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly bend at the hips and lower the feet to the ground.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana C (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Bound-Hands-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

THESE ADVANCED POSTURES MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER

From kneeling.

Place the very top of the head on the floor and place the forearms by the sides of your head. Spread the fingers

Strengthen through the arms and push the forearms firmly down into the ground.  The arms must be held strongly throughout this posture.

Straighten the legs up and walk them towards the hands.

Lift one leg up at a time or both legs.

Whist lifting the legs on your inhale, push the hands/arms into the ground and strengthen through the back.

The pressure should be spread through the arms and the upper back, not just directly on the head/neck.

Lengthen up through the whole body and pull the feet upwards.

Hold here for up to 10 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly bend at the hips and lower the feet to the ground.

Mukta Hasta Shirshasana D (Mukta Hasta Śīrṣāsana) = Bound-Hands-Headstand

Dṛṣṭi: nāsāgre = to the nose

THESE ADVANCED POSTURES MUST ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED YOGA TEACHER

From kneeling.

Place the very top of the head on the floor and place the elbows slightly in front (face end) and next to the head on each side.

Place the hands upwards onto the shoulder/neck area.

Strengthen through the arms and push the elbows  firmly down into the ground.  The arms must be held strongly throughout this posture.

Straighten the legs up and walk them towards the hands.

Lift one leg up at a time or both legs.

Whist lifting the legs on your inhale, push the elbows into the ground and strengthen through the arms/back.

The pressure should be spread through the arms and the upper back, not just directly on the head/neck.

Lengthen up through the whole body and pull the feet upwards.

Hold here for up to 10 breaths.

Exhale as you slowly bend at the hips and lower the feet to the ground.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Ūrdhva Dhanurāsana) = Upward-Facing-Bow-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: bhrūmadhye = in the middle of the eye brows

Drop Backs – from standing to Urdhva Dhanurasana

Start standing with the feet hip distance apart.

Place the hands in Nameste and take a deep inhale as you lift the chest up.

Keep the chest lifted as you start to bend backwards.

YOU MUST KEEP YOUR CHEST LIFTED THROUGHOUT AS THIS WILL KEEP THE LOWER BACK SAFE AND THE SPINE LONG

Keeping the chest lifted – strengthen the legs and firm the feet into the ground.

As you drop back do so on the exhale and open the arms up over the head.

(TIP – You can practice this using a wall at first until you gain the confidence to move away from the wall)

Still exhaling, you then drop completely back and place the hands on the floor at shoulder distance, with the fingertips pointing inwards/towards you.

Lift up through your entire body, and strengthen the arms and legs as you inhale.

Hold here for 3-5 breaths.

You can either pull up to standing from here, or lower your body gently down to the floor.

Repeat the whole sequence up to five times.

Once you are competent in dropping back, you can then work on coming up again from this posture to standing (as in the series of Ashtanga Yoga):

To come up, lift again on the inhale through the body.

Initially rock forwards and back to the hands and then the feet, build up momentum.

When you are ready, inhale and rock up onto our feet (strengthen your legs) and pull the body up – leading up with your chest (avoiding strain on the lower back/spine).

Bring the arms up and over the head and place them back in Nameste.

You can then repeat the drop backs and pull ups, up to five times.

Transition

Paschimottanasana (Paścimottānāsana) = Intense-Stretch-of-the-Back-of-the-Body-Posture

Dṛṣṭi: pādayoragre = to the tip of the foot

NOW GO IN TO FINISHING SEQUENCE (Below and as per Primary series)

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.