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    Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

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    Vidya Moksha

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    Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:23 am

    Hi All
    i am teaching yoga classes again after a few years out. My course is aimed at beginners and covers basic Hatha Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation. The course was compiled from books and my teachers. Not sure I would want to upload the photos I took, as they are of a close friend of mine, but the text i will upload here if anyone would wish to see it. Its quite a big ish job, may need editing to make sense of the text minus photos, but its not such a big document and covers all the basics, so I will do it if there is interest.. i will toddle back to my corner if not Wink

    Enlightenment through knowing the self eh?
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    Bobbie

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Bobbie on Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:14 am

    I think what might be helpful for me is a concise explanation of each pose and the benefits thereof. Often times in yoga classes I have attended, the teacher will go through the motions without any explanation as to which pose helps what ailments. We know that yoga releases pent up pains and aggressions and knowing which areas of the body are affected by these problems and how to release it would be of great benefit.

    For instance, how pigeon pose releases the hips and what is held there. I have had instances after a yoga class that emotions would pour out in the form of soft tears. Knowing how to release these past angers, hurts and anguishes can build a path to much freedom. I've always said that if I didn't practice yoga, I would be crippled.


    lerrocco wrote:Hi All
    i am teaching yoga classes again after a few years out. My course is aimed at beginners and covers basic Hatha Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation. The course was compiled from books and my teachers. Not sure I would want to upload the photos I took, as they are of a close friend of mine, but the text i will upload here if anyone would wish to see it. Its quite a big ish job, may need editing to make sense of the text minus photos, but its not such a big document and covers all the basics, so I will do it if there is interest.. i will toddle back to my corner if not Wink

    Enlightenment through knowing the self eh?


    Last edited by Bobbie on Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:50 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : color change)
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:49 pm

    [quote="Bobbie"]

    For instance, how pigeon pose releases the hips and what is held there. I have had instances after a yoga class that emotions would pour out in the form of soft tears. Knowing how to release these past angers, hurts and anguishes can build a path to much freedom. I've always said that if I didn't practice yoga, I would be crippled.


    I find that many people, but especially women, store stress in their hips, so the various hip opening postures release this. The energy releasing posture, on your back with knees tight into the abdomen is great for releasing tension, and stress and opening up the hips. The best book I found on this subject was 'The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga' by David (?) Coulter. Great book written by a physiology lecturer who had the amazing Swami Rami as a teacher, lucky fellow :)

    My Hatha yoga notes are not comprehensive! I always see Hatha as a means to to an end rather than the end itself. But I will post what I have, I have more in my notebooks, so maybe I will use this exercise to transfer more of my notes into an electronic format.

    Bobbie, I have answers to your question in my notebooks, I see I havent included them in my notes. Another job eh?


    Last edited by lerrocco on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Carol
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Carol on Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:02 pm

    Although I have taught yoga for many, many years I can always use a refresher on prana yama techniques.
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:19 pm

    Carol, How does this read with the photos stripped out?:

    (this is an evolving document, I distribute it freely but ask for an energy exchange in the form of feedback and suggestions Very Happy )

    Section 2 . Normal Breathing

    Breathing is fundamental to life and health and yet most people do not breathe correctly. If you watch a small child breathe, or someone who is asleep, you will observe steady and continual breathing from the abdomen. Watch most people when they
    are awake and they will likely breath from their chest. Breathing from the abdomen produces the correct energy flow in the body, it is the natural way of breathing and is stress free. Breathing from the chest is utilised during the "fight, flight and fright" response, during which time the body is put on a high state of alert, adrenalin is produced and the body is put into a state of stress.

    One of the commonest reasons for poor breathing is poor posture. If you slump forward then pressure is placed on your diaphragm and it is easier to breathe from your chest. Sitting straight is a good fist step to correct breathing. Sitting in a meditation posture with a straight spine will highlight just how 'alien' abdomen breathing can seem to someone who has developed their chest breathing
    over a number of years.

    Another way to introduce stress into the body is to pause between exhalation and inhalation, as again many people do. Breathing should be continuous, with no pauses between the in-breath and the out-breath.

    Exercise 1. Relaxed normal breathing

    In a relaxed posture, either sitting with your spine straight or, preferably, laying down, practice normal breathing. Place a hand on your abdomen and watch it rise and fall as you breathe. This is the essence of the Buddhist meditation practice called ana-pani-sati, simply observing your breath; there are 4 stages to observe; the out-breath, the end of the out-breath, the in-breath and the end of the in-breath. All breathing should ideally be done through the nose.

    Exercise 2. The full yogic breath

    A full yogic breath utilises your full lung capacity and includes abdominal and chest breathing. This is best practiced in a laying position, but a comfortable sitting posture can be adopted if preferred. The first stage is to completely expand your abdomen during inhalation, breathing through the nostrils. Then expand your chest as you keep filling your lungs with air. The last stage is then to
    imagine filling the area between your chest and shoulders with air, but it is very important not to raise your shoulders during this process, they should
    remain relaxed during all types of breathing. The exhalation is the reverse of this process.

    Section 3. Basic Pranayama

    The purpose of pranayama is to produce a correct energy flow within your body. The yogis describe energy flowing through the body inside prana channels called nadis. There are approximately 72,000 of these channels recognized in yoga. For the purpose of this exercise only the 3 main channels are introduced.

    The most important nadi is called the sushumna and it runs inside the spinal cord. It is usually closed in most people but can be opened with pranayama, working with the prana that flows in next two most important, the pingala and ida. These nadi terminate at the two nostrils and the flow of air through each of these nostrils serves as an ideal correspondent to the flow of prana through
    the nadi.

    One end of the ida channel is located at the left nostril, the other end on the left side of the base of the spine; the pingala nadi has the same terminals on the right side of the body.

    Breathing through the left nostril is cooling and constructive; breathing through the right is warming and destructive. Breathing through both nostrils at the same time produces a quiet and calm mind, and in this state sushumna has a chance to be open.

    The yogis claim that one minute of pranayama energizes the body for 1 hour, so 24 minutes of practice daily keeps the body fully energized: 12 minutes in the morning and 12 minutes in the evening should be your daily minimum.

    Exercise 3. Basic Pranayama

    Swami Rama considers the breathing sequence shown in exercise 3 to be the best, but it may be a little too complicated for some people in the beginning. It is worth persevering with this exercise, but a simpler version is also given. In these exercises I=inhale, E=exhale, L=left nostril, R=right nostril and B=Both nostrils.

    For this exercise a comfortable sitting position should be adopted, keeping the spine straight. Fold the first and second fingers of your right hand into the palm. The thumb and third finger are then placed on the nose, just below the bridge (bone) and only slight pressure is required to alternately close the nostrils.

    Alternate the breathing pattern every 3 breaths. Start with: EL, IR, EL, IR, EL, IR now switch ER, IL, ER, IL, ER, IL, then switch IB, EB, IB, EB, IB, EB.

    These 9 breaths constitute one round. Keep repeating this pattern for 5 minutes every day, gradually increasing to 20 minutes each day (e.g., three more minutes every three days). Once you have comfortably achieved 20 minutes then seek further guidance if you wish to increase your practice. To increase beyond this level can be dangerous as it is possible to start reprogramming your breathing
    pattern, this is not something you want to do!

    Exercise 3A. Simple Pranayama

    A simpler sequence, perhaps more suitable for beginners, is IL, EL, IR, ER, IL, EL, IR, ER, IL, EL, IR, ER, IB, EB, IB, EB, IB, EB.

    TIP: With both the above exercises it is easier to keep count using the fingers of your left hand. It is best to find your own way of doing this, but for example: Start with your left palm resting on your left knee, with fingers slightly raised. For the 3 breaths then
    touch your little finger, ring finger then middle finger down on your knee. Then switch the breath. Then the index finger, thumb and lift all your fingers for the next 3 breaths. Then remember to breathe 3 times through both nostrils while your fingers are raised, then start again. This way the left part of your hand signals leading with your left nostril and the right part of your hand signals breathing with your right nostril, fingers in the air is a signal to breathe through both nostrils.


    Exercise 4. More advanced pranayama: Kapalbhati

    Another useful and simple technique of pranayama is Kapalbhati, or 'skull shining'. This method is good for increasing mental energy and can be practiced whenever you feel tired but still need to be mentally active or alert.

    In a comfortable sitting position with spine straight, exhale sharply through both nostrils. This exhalation is produced by an intake of the abdomen (not the chest). Then relax the abdominal muscles completely, but do not inhale actively, the abdomen will relax and expand naturally. To begin, master the technique with a slow breathing rate, 1 exhale every 1 or 2 seconds. Repeat 20 times. As the passive inhalation is mastered then increase the breathing rate to 2 breaths per second and increase the duration to 50 breaths. Finally
    increase to 3 or 4 exhalations per second and 100 breaths.

    Until you have finally mastered the technique you will be exhaling more air than you inhale, and after a few breaths your rhythm will be interrupted as a fuller (active) inhalation is required. With practice this tendency to run out of breath will diminish.


    Last edited by lerrocco on Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:01 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : formatting)
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:20 pm

    SECTION 4. HOW TO AVOID INJURY AND STRAIN
    Before practice
    Do not eat for at last 2 hours before your hatha yoga programme, and 3-4 hours is even better. Early morning (before breakfast) and late at night (before sleep) are good times to practice.

    In the morning the bowels and bladder should be emptied before the practice begins.

    Some women stop their practice during their menstruation, others undertake simple asanas. Do not undertake any inverted asanas whilst menstruating as blood can enter the fallopian tubes and cause harm.

    People with serious medical complaints should consult with their doctors before undertaking yoga. People suffering from high blood pressure should be especially cautious and careful. If even a small blood vessel in the brain were to break whilst in a headstand it would likely be fatal.

    During practice
    Hatha Yoga is not a competitive sport, but a gentle way to self improvement. Do not worry about other people, and whether you are better or worse than them.

    Don't worry about achieving very advanced asanas in the early stages, find your own limits, then be happy to realise that regular practice will see large improvements occur naturally.

    Do not strain, there is no need and no point and you may cause injury.

    Forward bending is prone to various pulls and strains and care must be taken with these asanas, especially until you realise the limitations of your body. Over-stretching during forward bending can damage the hamstring or the back muscles or both. To avoid pulling your hamstring muscles during any forward bend (sitting or standing) then the leg and hip muscles should first be tensed. The first step is to raise the kneecaps, then tighten the hamstrings and then the hip muscles. By doing this you will limit the extent of your stretch but if your hamstring is contracted you cant pull or tear it. You will not reduce the daily improvements by contracting your muscles, you will just start from a position that is not your maximum stretch. With experience, when you can be sure not to over stretch then you can perform the bend with relaxed leg muscles. But always be careful, it is easy to overstretch until you are very comfortable in the final asana.

    The good news is that all back-bending asanas are intrinsically safe, though care and attention must be observed getting into and out of these asanas and some are especially prone to serious injury if you overbalance. There should be little problem with the asanas described in this course.

    The head rotations attract some different opinions, some teachers saying that the head should not be rotated as this is not a natural action – these teachers prescribe only tilting and turning the head.
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:36 am

    SECTION 5. A PRELIMINARY ASANA
    There is a simple and most effective asana which has many different names: the ‘energy releasing posture’, ‘gas releasing posture’, ‘supine hip opening position’ and 'leg lock pose'. For a number of reasons it is best undertaken as the first asana of any programme, it can even be carried out in bed before you get up in the morning!

    Exercise 5. The energy releasing posture
    Whilst lying on your back raise both knees to your chest and pull them up and into your abdomen and chest as far as you can using your arms, with the hands locked behind both knees or positioned one on each knee. This is the starting position and is sometimes called the gas releasing position, for reasons that may become apparent. It may also reveal that the bowels are not fully evacuated, and will assist in this operation, which is important before any hatha yoga routine.

    The most important aspect of this asana is its ability to reveal any problems in the hip area (even problems you were not aware of before you started!). If you have a problem then it will be revealed in one of two ways: either you will experience a direct pain or you will realise that you are contracting muscles in order to protect yourself from feeling that pain. If all the muscles are relaxed and awareness placed on the problem area then the pain will disappear!

    The next stage is to move around, roll from side to side, rotate the knees in a circular motion, move your knees further apart, etc: experiment with various positions to reveal all those hidden pains and strains. Once they have been located then the curative action is always the same, simply relax the muscles whilst maintaining the position that is revealing the pain. Some days as long as half an hour may be required to remove all the strains and pains from your hip area.

    When you have completed this asana, removed any intestinal gases and possibly even visited the toilet to empty your bowels then you may start the rest of the hatha yoga programme, starting with the warm-up..

    SECTION 6. AWARENESS
    Asana is the Sanskrit term for a balanced posture; when fully realised and performed with awareness it is much more than just a gymnastic exercise. Initially it is most helpful to be aware of the gymnastic position, to ensure you are carrying out the asana correctly. The use of a teacher, mirror or fellow practitioner will be of benefit in the early stages. Once the basic position has been understood then awareness should shift to the breathing. In reality regular practice will automatically see your awareness shifting as you progress with your asana practice. When the positions and breathing have become familiar then your attention will automatically switch again, either in the form of a meditation or on one of your chakras or a mantra. Don’t worry about it at this stage, concentrate on the basic position and awareness of your breathing.

    SECTION 7. GENTLE WARM-UP

    These very simple asanas are often overlooked, but they are very important and practice of them is beneficial.

    Exercise 6. Hand rotation.
    In a standing position, with the arms away from the body, rotate the hands 9 times clockwise and then 9 times counter clockwise.

    Exercise 7. Foot rotation
    From the same standing position raise the right leg off the ground and rotate the foot 9 times clockwise and 9 times counter clockwise. Then repeat with the left foot.

    Exercise 8. Hip rotation, gyrations
    Stand with feet apart at the width of the hips and hands resting on the hips. Whilst trying to keep your upper body as still as possible make a circular motion with your hips, first clockwise then anti clockwise. This is a good loosening and warming up exercise.

    Exercise 9. Neck bending, twisting and stretching

    First bend the head forwards as far as you comfortably can, until your chin touches your chest. Slowly raise your head and keep bending your head backwards as far as you can. Repeat these movements between 5 and 9 times.
    Then, keeping your head upright and your shoulders in the same place, twist your head to the right as far as you can. Then try for that little extra stretch, the movement is risk free and you may be surprised just how far you can twist your neck. With regular practice you will increase the distance you can twist your neck in this manner. Then repeat the twist to the left to complete one round. Perform 5 to 9 rounds.

    The stretching of the head to either side requires more attention and is best mastered in front of a mirror or with a yoga partner. Imagine to place your ear on your shoulder, although you cannot actually stretch that far, and don’t lift the shoulders during this exercise. The important thing to realise is to keep your head neck straight whilst stretching it to the left or the right. The easiest way to explain and visualize this process is to ‘see’ the spot on the wall that your nose is pointing to. Now when you bend your head to either side keep your nose pointing at this same spot, do not allow any twisting of the head, which will result in the nose moving from a frontal aspect to ‘look’ towards the shoulder you are stretching towards. This is much easier with a partner until you have mastered the technique.

    The rolling of the head in large circles is now considered dangerous and modern practice does not teach or advocate this practice. The reason is that it is not a natural process and is not subject to natural ‘stops’ and if the muscles are loosened or stretched then they might not protect your spine during violent trauma.

    Exercise 10. Side stretching
    The first simple stretch starts once one arm is vertical and straight. Simply keep stretching the hand upwards, until the stretch can be felt from the foot to the hand. Then repeat with the other arm. There are many variations to begin these stretches, a common one is to start with the arm by your side, palm facing inwards towards the thigh. Very slowly raise the arm to a horizontal position, and slowly turn the palm to face upwards. Continue the slow lifting of the arm, keeping the elbow locked and arm straight and now feeling the pull of gravity as your arm moves slowly to a vertical position.
    For a whole body side bend then place both arm vertically and lock the hands together. Continue stretching the arms and maintain this full stretch as you bend to one side, then repeat to the other side. If you relax the arm tension during the stretch then the stretch will shift from a full body stretch to a lower spinal bend.


    Last edited by lerrocco on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:36 am

    SECTION 8. THE FULL WARM UP, THE SUN SALUTATION

    Exercise 12. - The Sun salutation: Surya Namaskara
    The sun salutation is carried out before nearly every modern hatha yoga programme. This is the case despite the fact it is a recent introduction to hatha yoga and it contradicts classical yoga teachings which say that forward and backward bending should not be mixed! The reason it is used is that it is a very good general warm up, stretching and moving most parts of the body, and as long as care is taken with the forward bends (see section 4) then it is safe.

    There are many variations on this basic warm up routine, which is often practiced with 12 rounds of 12 steps. Beginners should only undertake 2 to 4 rounds slowly, increasing the number of rounds over time. If you wish to chant mantras during this exercise then the following are often used:

    Round 1: Om mitraya namaha (salutations to the friend of all)
    Round 2: Om ravaye namaha (salutations to the shining one)
    Round 3: Om suryaya namaha (salutations to he who induces activity)
    Round 4: Om bhanave namaha (salutations to he who illuminates)
    Round 5: Om khagaya namaha (salutations to he who moves quickly in the sky)
    Round 6: Om pushne namaha (salutations to the giver of strength)
    Round 7: Om hiranyagarbhaya namaha (salutations to the golden cosmic self)
    Round 8: Om marichaye namaha (salutations to the Lord of the Dawn)
    Round 9: Om adityaya namaha (salutations to the son of Aditi, the cosmic mother)
    Round 10: Om savitre namaha (salutations to the Lord of Creation)
    Round 11: Om arkaya namaha (salutations to he who is fit to be praised)
    Round 12: Om bhaskaraya namaha (salutations to he who leads to enlightenment)

    Some teachers chant before every Step, others chant at the beginning of each Round. In order to synchronize a class of students, or to dictate a certain pace to this exercise, the teacher (or each student in turn) will call out the step number.
    There are many variations to Surya Namaskara, but they all serve the same purpose as a loosening, stretching and toning of the body. The Sivananda version is the most recognised and the easiest to describe:

    Step 1: The prayer pose. Standing with feet apart at the distance of the hips, with hands raised to the heart, palms together in the classic prayer pose.

    Step 2: The raised arms pose. Breathe in whilst raising the arms and then bend backwards bend with arms straight and palms together. Keep the arms straight, and try locking legs and hips so th bend is just from the waist.
    Step 3: The hand to foot posture, Padhastana (Exercise 14 below). Bend forward and touch your toes or stretch as far forward as you are able to do so comfortably. Be careful not to over stretch those hamstrings. If you tighten your hamstrings and raise your knee caps, you cant damage your hamstrings.
    Step 4: The equestrian pose. Bend the knees and place both hands flat on the floor besides the feet. Then extend the right leg as far back as you can (in the next round extend the left leg). Be aware of the stretch in the legs. This picture is left leg extended, and is not in final position, push the hips forward and try and make a crescent moon shape with your body.
    Step 5: The mountain pose. Place the left foot back alongside the right and raise your hips and lower your head so it comes between your arms, forming a 90 degree bend at the hips. Try to rest the heels on the floor (this will take some practice). Keeping you heels off the ground until you have mastered the exercise will help the hip bend.
    Step 6: The salute with eight points. From the mountain pose lower your knees, chest and chin to the ground – but only these points, there should be 8 points touching the ground: Both feet, both knees, both hands, the chest and the chin. Raise your bum in the air for maximum spine stretch.
    Step 7: The cobra, Bhujangasana. (Exercise 19 below). Lower your abdomen to the round, place your hands by your shoulders and go into the cobra position. Keep your arms bent and relax stomach and buttock muscles.
    The remaining steps are repetitions of previous ones:
    Step 8: The mountain pose.
    Step 9: The equestrian pose
    Step 10: the hand to foot posture.
    Step 11: The raised arms pose
    Step 12: The prayer pose

    SECTION 9. RELAXATION AND RECOVERY POSITIONS

    Exercise 13. The corpse position: shavasana
    The corpse pose, shavasana is a simple but important asana which can be practiced for a short time (1-2 minutes) during the routine (for recovery or a rest) and for longer periods at the end of your asana programme or at other times of the day.

    Simply lay down on the ground and relax every muscle in your body, which in fact will take practice and awareness. The best way to achieve this position is to mentally visit all parts of your body to make sure all the muscles are relaxed. Many people forget to relax their buttocks, chin and tongue muscles. Once you have checked all your muscles mentally then do so again with a quick sweep of the body. Breathe from the abdomen and relax, try to empty your mind. Do not stay longer than 2 minutes in this position in the middle of your yoga routine, but do this asana as often as you like in order to rest.

    After the yoga routine shavasana can be practised for much longer periods, it is a most restful and beneficial asana. To obtain the maximum relaxation of the muscles then it is best to contract the muscles first. This can be achieved in many ways. For example, whilst laying down contract your leg muscles, your feet, your ankles, your knees and your hamstrings. Really tighten them and hold as long as you can manage. Then relax the muscles. Now repeat with your back muscles, then your arm and neck muscles. The stronger the tension in the muscles the deeper will be the subsequent relaxation. It is also possible to contract all of your muscles individually as you make a circuit of your body.

    Exercise 14. The recovery position or the moon or the hare pose: shashankasana
    Sit in vajrasana (Exercise 26 below). Inhale and raise the arms above the head, keeping them straight. Exhale and bend forwards from the hips, keeping the arms and head straight. Rest the forehead, forearms and hands on the floor.


    Last edited by Vidya Moksha on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:27 am; edited 3 times in total
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    Vidya Moksha

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:37 am

    SECTION 10: FORWARD BENDING ASANAS

    From a standing position, feet together

    Exercise 15. The hand to foot posture: padhastasana.
    To begin with lock your leg muscles as described in section 4 above. Exhale as you bend forward, keeping the head back and the spine concave so that the bend is from the waist and not the spine. Rest at the point of maximum hip bend and breathe normally. Then complete the forward bend by moving your head towards your knees, bending your spine. If you can bend far enough then place your fingers under your toes, or simply hang, with your hands in space, allowing gravity to gently increase your stretch.
    For the next series of forward bending asanas adopt a sitting position, with legs stretched out in front of you.

    Exercise 16. The head to knee pose:
    Bring your left foot towards your body, placing it against your right thigh. As you improve at this asana the foot can be brought closer to the groin and then on top of the right leg in a half lotus position. Then bend forwards, with your head tilted back and your spine as concave as possible, this will ensure the stretching is from the waist and not the spine. To protect your hamstrings than tense all leg and hip muscles as described in section 4 above. Once you have reached your maximum hip bend then relax a moment and breathe normally. After a few breaths complete the forward bend by moving your head towards you knee, curving your spine in the process. Only stretch as far as is comfortable. Regular practice within your own limits will soon see your head resting on your knee. After this stage has been achieved then place the chest along the top of the thigh. Repeat with the other leg. Can be done with both legs extended



    An alternative is the back stretching pose, in which both legs are extended and the toes are grasped. Do not strain but try and touch the knees with the forehead.

    SECTION 11. INVERTED ASANAS

    Exercise 17. The shoulder stand: sarvangasana
    Lie on your back with arms by your side. Using you abdominal muscles and pushing down with your hands raise your legs and then trunk to a vertical position. Place the hands on your back for support. Now push the chest forward until it touches the chin. Breath normally and comfortably, holding the position as long as is comfortable.


    Exercise 18. The plough: halasana
    From the shoulder stand most yoga routines then go into the plough position. From the shoulder stand, lower the legs over the head. Keep the legs straight and push the chest against the chin for the maximum stretch. If this position is too difficult then to begin with keep the knees bent, which will release the tension in the hamstrings.



    Exercise 19. The fish posture: matsyasana

    After completing these inverted asanas then the fish position should always be undertaken as a counter pose. A general rule of thumb is to spend half as much time in the fish pose as was spent in the shoulder stand and the plough (or any other inverted asanas that caused an intense forward neck stretch).

    SECTION 12 . BACKWARD BENDING ASANAS

    This section includes some of the most important asanas for general health and flexibility. A supple spine will keep you feeling young.

    Tip: Although not an asana as such a ball placed under the spine, anywhere between the pelvis and the neck will both open the joints of the spine and reveal any hidden problems, like the supine hip opening asana. If you cannot relax completely in this position, and find yourself tensing up to protect yourself then you have located an internal problem that perhaps you were not even aware of.

    Exercise 20. The cobra: bhujangasana
    This important asana has a number of variations, two of which will be described here. The first position is to lie on the stomach, legs straight out behind and hands placed at shoulder level. Lift the head and trunk, bend as far back as you can without the support of the hands or arms, which should be just off the ground. Maintain the position for as long as is comfortable.
    The second pose is the classic asana. It is started as the simple version above, but the arms are used to push the trunk back, increasing the stretch. The arms should be kept bent at all times (until you are advanced enough for the spine to bend so far back the arms must be straight in order to support the position). Also keep the shoulders down and as relaxed as possible in order to fully stretch the spine.


    Exercise 21. The locust: shalabhasana
    The beginners full locust has a number of hand variations depending on personal preference. Lie on your stomach with legs extended. Either place your hands by your side, flat to the floor, or place your hands under your thighs, either flat to the floor or with fists clenched, with fists facing up or down depending on personal comfort. Slowly raise the legs as high as you can manage, using a downward pressure from the hands to assist the movement. Don’t be discouraged if you cant manage a very big leg lift initially, this is a difficult asana, and as always, regular practice will see gradual improvement.


    until you develop the strength you can support one leg with the other

    Exercise 22. The bow: dhanurasana
    The starting position is the same, lie on your stomach with legs extended out straight. Now bend the knees so that you can grab your ankles with your hands. Now arch the back, pulling your ankles with your arms and lift both your shoulders and your thighs off the ground as far as you can manage comfortably.



    Last edited by Vidya Moksha on Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:37 am

    VIDYA'S VARIATION ON THE SUN SALUTATION
    I developed my own version of the sun salutation over time... and here it is sunny

    Step 1: The prayer pose. Standing with feet apart at the distance of the hips, with hands raised to the heart, palms together in the classic prayer pose.
    Step 2: The raised arms pose. Breathe in whilst raising the arms and then bend backwards bend with arms straight and palms together.
    Step 3: The hand to foot posture, Padhastana. Bend forward and touch your toes or stretch as far forward as you are able to do so comfortably.
    Step 4: The equestrian pose. Bend the knees and place both hands flat on the floor besides the feet. Then extend the right leg as far back as you can (in the next round extend the left leg). Be aware of the stretch in the legs.
    Step 5. The Plank, left leg goes back, body straight, hold the pose, or do a press up.
    Step 6. Upward dog, only hands and feet touching the ground, arms straight, head up, big backstretch
    Step 7. Knees on the ground, back into Child pose or recovery position
    Step 8: The salute with eight points. Chest and chin to the ground – but only these points, there should be 8 points touching the ground: Both feet, both knees, both hands, the chest and the chin.
    Step 9: The cobra, Bhujangasana. Lower your abdomen to the round, place your hands by your shoulders and go into the cobra position
    Step 10. Downward dog. (mountain pose) Onto hands and feet, arms straight, hips in the air. lower your head so it comes between your arms, forming a 90 degree bend at the hips. Try to rest the heels on the floor (this will take some practice). Keeping you heels off the ground until you have mastered the exercise will help the hip bend.
    Step 11: The equestrian pose
    Step 12: the hand to foot posture.
    Step 13: The raised arms pose
    Step 14: The prayer pose

    sunny


    Last edited by Vidya Moksha on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Post  Vidya Moksha on Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:05 am

    SECTION 13. SITTING TWISTING ASANA

    Exercise 23. The half spinal twist: ardha matsyendrasana
    Start in a sitting position, both legs out in front of you. Place the right foot outside the left knee. Pass the right arm outside the left knee and grab the ankle if you can. If you cant grab the ankle then raise you forearm vertically, elbow behind the knee. Place the left arm behind you, in line with the legs, for support. Keep the head upright and look behind as far as possible. Now push with the right elbow, pushing the left leg to the right. At the same time twist further right with the head, expanding the twist.
    If the leg remains outstretched the stretch is intensified, so bending the right leg and placing the foot by the hips makes the position easier.

    later, hands behind the back intensifies the stretch



    SECTION 14. MEDITATION/ SITTING ASANAS

    With all sitting positions the feet position should be switched daily.

    Exercise 24. The lotus: padmasana

    Although the lotus position is almost universally recognized in the modern age as a sign of yoga it is not used by advanced yogis as a sitting position. There are benefits to performing the pose though, and many more advanced moves require the mastery of this position so it is worth practicing. Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you. Place the right foot on the left thigh, sole pointing upwards. Now take the left foot and place it on the right thigh. Ideally both knees should touch the floor. Initially this position is made much easier by sitting on a 3” cushion. The whole body should be steady but relaxed.


    Exercise 25. The auspicious pose: swastikasana

    Advanced yogis usually sit for long periods of meditation in the accomplished pose, or siddhasana, but this is of no benefit to beginners and is difficult to perform properly. A simplified version is the auspicious pose, or swastikasana. The left foot is placed against the right thigh and the toes raised. The right foot is placed in between the left calf and thigh, trapping the toes. In this manner the toes are raised off the ground and the feet are not interfering with the legs and both knees can rest on the ground. These factors provide a solid base for long periods of sitting meditation. A cushion should initially be placed under the bottom, this will reduce in size as hip flexibility improves.


    Exercise 26. The thunderbolt pose: vajrasana
    This posture is very easy for some people and quite painful for others. The spine is always straight in this posture, so if this is an easy asana for you to perform then you may consider using it for long periods of sitting meditation.
    Kneel on the floor, bring your big toes together and separate your heels. Sit on the inner part of the soles, with heels touching the outer part of the hips. Place your palms on your knees. Relax and breathe normally from the abdomen.
    If you can manage it then move your feet apart and sit directly on the ground. This is harder than sitting on your heels.


    Exercise 27. The butterfly pose: poorna titaliasana
    Sit on the ground with legs out in front. Bend the legs and bring the soles of your feet together, bringing the feet as close to your body as you can manage. Now try to touch your knees to the ground. You can bounce your legs up and down to intensify the stretch. Alternatively you can push down on your knees with your hands to increase the stretch.
    For an even more intense stretch then grasp your feet, and try to ‘open’ them as if they were a book. At the same time push down on your knees with your forearms or elbows.


    That's all for now, I realise some of the more popular asanas are not included, but the above covers all the basics you will ever need!

    Hope it was useful...


    cheers sunny = sun salutation Very Happy


    Last edited by Vidya Moksha on Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  mudra on Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:29 pm

    Thank you Lerroco for sharing this .
    While reading it I thought it would be nice
    to have some photos as well .
    If you don't want to post the ones of your friend
    you maybe could find others on the web ...

    Love from me
    mudra
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:36 am

    Hi Mudra,
    I dont have the time to search the net for these right now.. too much on the go. maybe i can grey scale or somehow modify the existing ones.. it really wouldnt be appropriate to post the ones i have of my friend.
    will see what i can do, but wont be soon :)

    I can overimpose a smiley face onto my friends, shame really, she is pretty :)

    Q1: is there a limit to the number of grapics i can upload per post?
    if so, and anyway, which positions need photos?


    Last edited by lerrocco on Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add questions)
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  mudra on Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:20 am

    I found this article today that I hope you don't mind I post on your thread Vidya . It's all in favor of Yoga practice :)

    Health
    Yoga Shows Potential to Ward Off Certain Diseases


    By Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Staff Writer

    25 August 2010

    http://www.livescience.com/health/yoga-reduces-inflammation-depression-asthma-100825.html

    Practicing yoga may do more than calm the mind — it may help protect against certain diseases, a new study suggests.

    In the study, women who had practiced yoga regularly for at least two years were found to have lower levels of inflammation in their bodies than did women who only recently took up the activity.

    Inflammation is an immune response and can be beneficial when your body is fighting off infection, but chronically high levels of inflammation are known to play a role in certain conditions, including asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression.
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    Inflammation is known to be boosted by stressful situations. But when yoga experts were exposed to stress (such as dipping their feet in ice water), they experienced less of an increase in their inflammatory response than yoga novices did.

    "The study is the first one, I think, to really suggest how yoga could have some distinctive physical benefits in terms of the immune system," said researcher Janice Kiecolt-Glaser of Ohio State University. "It suggests that regular yoga practice is really good for you." she told LiveScience.

    Stressed out

    Kiecolt-Glaser and her Ohio State colleagues recruited 50 women between the ages of 30 and 65 and with different degrees of yoga experience. Those labeled "yoga experts" had practiced yoga once or twice a week for at least two years, while "yoga novices" had participated in only six to 12 sessions. (The researchers wanted novices to have at least some experience so that they wouldn't be stressed out simply from having to practice yoga for the first time.)

    The two groups were very similar in terms of age, physical fitness level and amount of body fat. This was important because all three of these factors are known to influence inflammation.

    Participants completed three stressful tasks in succession. In one, subjects immersed a foot in warm water and then in ice water for one minute. In another, they had to perform tricky mental arithmetic for five minutes.

    Then subjects either completed a yoga session or took part in one of two control experiments, which involved walking on a treadmill, or watching a video.

    All the while, subjects had catheters placed in their arms to collect blood samples periodically.

    The researchers examined the blood samples for key markers of inflammation, one of which is a protein called IL-6.

    Across all the tasks and other experimental scenarios, the novices' IL-6 levels were 41 percent higher than the experts'. The novices also produced more IL-6 in response to the stressful tasks.

    Breath control

    While the researchers aren't sure why yoga would have this effect on inflammation, they have a few speculations.

    Yoga focuses on deep breathing and controlling breathing, which may slow down the body's "fight or flight" response — the body's reaction to stress, Kiecolt-Glaser said.

    Yoga also involves meditation, which helps people learn to pay attention to how they are feeling. So yoga experts may be more aware of their stress and better able to control their response to it.

    Finally, yoga is a form of exercise, which is known to decrease inflammation.

    A randomized clinical trial will be needed to confirm the findings, Kiecolt-Glaser said. Such a trial would involve randomly assigning participants to either practice yoga or refrain from it over a certain time frame. Researchers would then look to see whether the activity had any effect on inflammation.

    The study was published in the January issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Kiecolt-Glaser also discussed her study at the 118th annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, which was held Aug. 11 to Aug. 14 in San Diego.


    Love Always
    mudra
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:41 am

    mudra wrote:I found this article today that I hope you don't mind I post on your thread Vidya . It's all in favor of Yoga practice :)

    Yoga focuses on deep breathing and controlling breathing, which may slow down the body's "fight or flight" response — the body's reaction to stress, Kiecolt-Glaser said.

    Love Always
    mudra

    of course I dont mind, I had no replies to my request for which photos were required (maybe all sections need photos?) so I havent actioned this thread for a while. I might play with the photos fot this thread over the next weeks - 5 weeks more with a computer before I head off with my backpack Very Happy

    I was teaching a class tonight, I'm winding it down now as I prepare to leave the country and am trying to concentrate on the basics so the class can practice on their own after I'm gone... the breathing was my main point tonight. its so important (so a timely post from you my dear mudra I love you ). The word missing from the above quote is 'abdominal', we MUST breathe from our bellies. Sat at a computer (or a microscope - I was 8 hours at mine today) we slump forward, putting pressure on our diaphragm and switching the breathing to the chest - this induces the fear fight flight response and is terrible for our health, messes up our body chemistry completely. So someting as simple as sitting upright can be so beneficial for health.

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  mudra on Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:28 am

    You are right about " abdominal " breathing .
    I wonder how we loose it as I know this is how babies
    breathe.Maybe this changes as we begin to stand on our
    feets and walk ...

    Here are some great chairs that help keep the back straight
    and the pressure we exert on our stomachs while sitting on
    usual chairs . Excellent for breathing, back and digestion.



    If you have some time to include photos here it would be Thubs Up

    Love from me
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  lindabaker on Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:52 am

    Thanks for the kick in the butt. I must start practicing yoga daily once again. I tend to put it off, making other tasks a priority, which is not for my best and highest good. You provided the info at just the right time. Blessings upon you for sharing.
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:53 am

    people slump in these chairs too, Ive seen it at work..

    I have found a way of pixelating my images, so my friend's face is obscured but the postures are still clear cheers will edit the above for photos over the next 3 days (no work for me til monday sunny )
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:41 pm

    OK Im uploading pictures to my previous posts and adding more comment at the same time.. Will finish this today, if you need more images let me know.

    feedback please if you want more of anything (text, photos, asanas etc)...

    hope the pictures are ok, Ive pixelated them, as it is a friend of mine and I dont want her face over the net :) pictures are mine, so no copyright issues.
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  mike22 on Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:57 am

    Really nice information about yoga. I really like it.


    Last edited by Mercuriel on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:48 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spam Edited out of Post)
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  mudra on Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:25 am

    mike22 wrote:Really nice information about yoga. I really like it.

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    Hata Yoga and Pranayama

    Post  jacob22 on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:59 am

    Hata yoga is one type of yoga. With ha meaning "sun" and tha meaning "moon," Hatha Yoga is commonly translated as the yoga that brings union "of the pairs of opposites."
    Pranayama is considered as a fast way to awaken the kundalini. But if one is not prepared to take on this high level energy awakening then this may have negative effects on mind and body. So Pranayama is always practiced under the guidance of Guru.

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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:37 pm

    jacob22 wrote:Hata yoga is one type of yoga. With ha meaning "sun" and tha meaning "moon," Hatha Yoga is commonly translated as the yoga that brings union "of the pairs of opposites."
    Pranayama is considered as a fast way to awaken the kundalini. But if one is not prepared to take on this high level energy awakening then this may have negative effects on mind and body. So Pranayama is always practiced under the guidance of Guru.


    Yoga is a philosophy. There are 6 forms, all of which are esoteric forms of Hinduism. One of these 6 variations was described by Patanjali (my avatar here in the mists) as having 8 limbs, Hatha Yoga being being the third of the limbs.
    Pranayama can be used for kundalini, but that is not its main purpose. The major problem with pranayama is that you can reprogramme your breathing, and you can switch off automatic breathing, it happened to me and it was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. However, low level pranayama isnt dangerous..the claims are that 1 minute of pranayama provides energy for the body for 1 hour. So pranayama is better studied under someone experienced for sure, but the trick is essentially simple, the breathing should be the focus, not the counting, do not programme your breath to wait for an instruction to breathe, rather observe (and count) the breathing...its a subtle distinction but a very important one!
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  Vidya Moksha on Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:29 am

    wow, it was a few years ago I wrote the above eh?

    I have refined these notes and expanded them to include a brief history of yoga, the purpose and doctrine of yoga and experiences of samadhi and advaita. There are sections on all aspects of Patanjali's ashtanga yoga, with practives suitable for beginners and advanced students alike!

    If you are interested then the book is available here:
    http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/6348229-a-comprehensive-introduction-to-yoga

    blurb is an international print on demand publisher, so the books are printed locally to you, so change your location to see local prices and shipping rates.

    Print on demand is expensive, but what to do? I hope there is value in the book :)

    I created a facebook page for the book also, and have a few copies myself which I can ship at reduced rates (I did a bulk order), especially to UK based folk (UK based at the moment anyway)
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Comprehensive-Introduction-to-Yoga/965505583514393?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
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    Re: Basic Hatha Yoga and pranayama course notes anyone?

    Post  B.B.Baghor on Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:42 am

    Hi Vidya, thanks for giving your blurb link to the book. I'm not on Facebook. I'll have to wait a couple of days, than I will order
    a pdf version of your book and complete the payment. I'm now a blurbarian too... ha! Apart from having a choice for many more
    books online, blurping could be just the thing for me, once I'm in the phase of publishing my book Bleh

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