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Mudras for Diabetes
August 30, 2016
Yogasanas
Meditation Asanas
September 1, 2016

Yoga Asanas for Relaxation

  • 3 jyestikasana

    Jyestikasana (superior posture) 3

    Jyestikasana (superior posture)

    Lie flat on the stomach with the legs straight and the forehead resting on the floor.
    Interlock the fingers and place the palms on the back of the head or neck.
    Allow the elbows to rest on the floor.
    Relax the whole body and become aware of the breathing process as described for shavasana.

    Breathing:

    Natural and rhythmical.

    Awareness:

    Physical – on the breath and relaxing the whole body.

    Feel the soothing warmth of the palms melting away the tensions in the neck and related areas.
    Spiritual – on ajna or manipura chakra.

    Benefits:

    This asana is helpful for all spinal complaints especially cervical spondylitis and stiff neck or upper back.

    Variation:

    This asana may also be performed with the fingers of both hands interlocked and placed under the forehead, palms facing up.

  • 4 makarasana

    Makarasana (crocodile pose) 4

    Makarasana (crocodile pose)

    Lie flat on the stomach.

    Raise the head and shoulders and rest the chin in the palms of the hands with the elbows on the floor.
    Keep the elbows together for a more pronounced arch to the spine. Separate the elbows slightly to relieve excess pressure on the neck. In makarasana the effect is felt at two points: the neck and the lower back. If the elbows are too far in front, tension will be felt in the neck; if they are drawn too close to the chest, tension will be felt more in the lower back. Adjust the position of the elbows so that these two points are equally balanced. The ideal position is when the whole spine is equally relaxed.

    Relax the whole body and close the eyes.

    Breathing:

    Natural and rhythmic.
    Duration: For as long as possible.

    Awareness:

    Physical – on the breathing process or counting the breath with concentration on the lower back, and
    relaxing the whole body.
    People with back or spinal complaints may practise breathing in, moving the awareness up along the spine from the tail bone to the neck and breathing out, bringing the awareness back down from the neck to the tail bone.
    Imagine that the breath is moving up and down the spine like mercury in a glass tube. This will quickly activate the healing energies in this area. For lower back pain due to tension, concentrate on this area and feel it expanding  and relaxing with every inhalation and exhalation.

    Spiritual – on manipura chakra or on the nose tip if practising nasikagra drishti.

    Contra-indications:

    Those with back conditions should not practise this asana if any pain is experienced.

    Benefits:

    This asana is very effective for people suffering from slipped disc, sciatica, lower back pain or any other spinal disorder. They should remain in this asana for extended periods of time as it encourages the vertebral column to resume its normal shape and releases compression of the spinal nerves. Asthmatics and people who have any other lung ailments should practise this simple asana regularly with breath awareness as it allows more air to enter the
    lungs.

  • 5 matsya kridasana

    Matsya Kridasana (flapping fish pose) 5

    Matsya Kridasana (flapping fish pose)

    Lie on the stomach with the fingers interlocked under the head. Bend the left leg sideways and bring the left knee close to the ribs.

    The right leg should remain straight. Swivel the arms to the left and rest the left elbow on the left knee. If this is not comfortable, rest it on the floor. Rest the right side of the head on the crook of the right arm, or a little further down the arm for more comfort.

    Relax in the final pose and, after some time, change sides. This position resembles a flapping fish.

    Breathing:

    Normal and relaxed in the static pose.

    Duration:

    Practise this asana for as long as possible on both sides. It may also be used for sleeping and resting.

    Awareness:

    Physical – on the breath and relaxing the whole body.
    Spiritual – on manipura chakra.

    Benefits:

    This asana stimulates digestive peristalsis by stretching the intestines and helps remove constipation. It relieves sciatic pain by relaxing the nerves in the legs. People with backache, for whom the practice of forward bending asanas is not recommended, may practise matsya kridasana as a counterpose after backward bending asanas. In the later months of pregnancy, lying on the back may cause pressure over major veins and block the circulation. In such circumstances, this posture is ideal for relaxing, sleeping or practising yoga nidra. The bent knee and the head may be supported on a pillow for further comfort. This asana also redistributes excess weight around the waistline.

  • 2 advasana

    Advasana (reversed corpse pose) 2

    Advasana (reversed corpse pose)

    Lie on the stomach.

    Stretch both arms above the head with the palms facing downward. The forehead should be resting on the floor.

    Relax the whole body in the same way as described for shavasana.

    If there is difficulty breathing or a sense of suffocation is experienced, a pillow may be placed under the chest.

    Breathing:

    Natural and rhythmic. The number of breaths may be counted as in shavasana while gently pushing the
    abdomen against the floor.

    Duration:

    For relaxation in the treatment of ailments, it should be performed for as long as possible. Before or during an asana session, a few minutes is sufficient.

    Awareness:

    Physical – on the breath, the number of breaths and relaxing the whole body.

    Spiritual – on ajna or manipura chakra.

    Benefits: 

    Recommended for those with slipped disc, stiff neck and stooping figure. People with these conditions will also find this asana an excellent sleeping position.

    Practice note:

    Mantra may also be synchronised with the breath as in shavasana, i.e.,  a personal mantra may be repeated with every inhalation and exhalation.

  • 1 shavasana

    Shavasana 1

    Shavasana (corpse pose)
    Lie flat on the back with the arms about 15 cm away from the body, palms facing upward. A thin pillow or folded cloth may be placed behind the head to prevent discomfort.

    Let the fingers curl up slightly.

    Move the feet slightly apart to a comfortable position and close the eyes.

    The head and spine should be in a straight line.

    Make sure the head does not fall to one side or the other.

    Relax the whole body and stop all physical movement.

    Become aware of the natural breath and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed.

    Begin to count the breaths from number 27 backwards to zero. Mentally repeat, “I am breathing in 27, I am breathing out 27, 1 am breathing in 26, I am breathing out 26”,  and so on, back to zero.

    If the mind wanders and the next number is forgotten, bring it back to the counting and start again at 27. If the mind can be kept on the breath for a few minutes the body will relax.

    Duration:

    According to time available. In general, the longer the better although a minute or two is sufficient between asana practices.

    Awareness:

    Physical – first on relaxing the whole body, then on the breath and counting.
    Spiritual – on ajna chakra.

    Benefits:

    This asana relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system. It should ideally be practised before sleep; before,during and after asana practice, particularly after dynamic exercises such as surya namaskara; and when the practitioner feels physically and mentally tired. It develops body awareness. When the body is completely relaxed, awareness of the mind increases, developing pratyahara.

    Practice note:

    Try not to move the body at all during the practice as even the slightest movement will create muscular
    contraction.
    A personal mantra may be repeated with every inhalation and exhalation.

    Variation:

    While lying in shavasana, become aware of the right hand and relax it.

    Slowly become aware of the right wrist, elbow, armpit, right side of the waist, right buttock, right thigh, right knee, calf, heel, sole of the foot, and relax them one by one.

    Repeat this process with the left side of the body and all the parts of the head and trunk.

    Make sure that each part of the body is relaxed, feel each part merging into the floor.

    Repeat this process a few times and all the tensions will be removed.

    Practice note:

    For maximum benefit, this technique should be performed after a hard day’s work or just before sleep.

    Note: This asana is also known as mritasana, the dead man’s pose.

The importance of this series of relaxation poses cannot be over-emphasised. They should be performed before and after the asana session and at any time when the body becomes tired. The asanas in this group appear very easy at first, yet to do them properly is quite difficult for the tension in all the muscles of the body must be consciously released. The muscles often seem to be completely relaxed but, in fact, tightness still remains. Even during sleep, relaxation is elusive. The asanas in this chapter give the body the rest it so badly needs. Constant postural abnormalities put excess strain on the muscles of the back which hardly receive proper relaxation in the conventional supine position. Therefore certain relaxation practices which are done in the prone position are very relaxing to the spine and related structures. They are especially recommended for any back/spinal problem. These postures can be adopted during
any time of the day for any comfortable duration. They can be combined with relaxing daily activities as well.

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