Hatha yoga – Asanas And Their Benefits November 16, 2016

Are you confused about choosing the best yoga asanas for yourself? Here’s a smart solution to your problem! StyleCraze offers you unique and the best-sorted information on the various types and forms of yoga asanas, their techniques, and tips, benefits, and contraindications.

So you have enough choice of asanas to choose from. Select the best one that suits your needs and get started. To begin with, there are a few common forms of yoga which include Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Laughter yoga, Bikram yoga and Dhyana yoga.

Hatha yoga is one such popular form of yoga chosen by lakhs of people. This form of yoga focuses more on physical and mental strength-building asanas and poses. This form of yoga has its name derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Ha’ which means ‘the sun’ and ‘tha’ which means ‘the moon’. This is basically a combination of opposites.

Hatha yoga is also included in the Hindu tradition. It is one of the four pillars of the popular Tantra yoga. It is also noted that Hatha yoga stresses on the third and fourth steps of Ashtanga yoga. It has a perfect blend of asanas, nadi shuddhi pranayama, and meditation.

Breathing exercises are as important in Hatha yoga as poses or asanas. The poses included in Hatha yoga session are listed below along with their benefits. To learn and practice them at home, follow the instructions given below and get started:-

1. Halasana: 

This is also known as ‘The Plow Pose’.

How To Do:

  1. Lie down on the floor with your back resting on the floor and hands placed besides your body.
  2. Lift up your legs at a 90-degree angle in the upward direction. (Take the support of your hands if needed.)
  3. Rest your hands (palms) on your back to support your position.
  4. Now bring your legs down from above your head.
  5. This pose is known as Halasana. Remain steady in this pose for about 15-20 seconds.

Benefits: It helps in strengthening your arms, shoulders, legs, wrists and ankles, and keeps you away from minor joint and backache problems. It also helps to improve blood circulation in your heart and head and improves digestion. It increases your lungs’ capacity as well.

2. Salamba Sirsasana: 

Also known as Supported Headstand.

How To Do:

  1. Start your asana by sitting in Vajrasana pose, hands placed beside your body.
  2. Lift up your hands and place them on the ground in such a way that you can hold the right arm with your left hand and left hand your right arm. Hold tight.
  3. Bring your head down and place the crown of your head between both your palms.
  4. With a jerk, swing your legs in the upward direction. (Remember, one may have to practice swinging the legs upwards many times before they successfully get their legs up in the air in a straight line with the body.)
  5. Remain steady for 30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: Stretches all parts of your body and also your abdominal organs. It improves blood circulation in your heart and head and also sharpens your balancing skills. For women, it helps in relieving the symptoms of menopause. This asana helps in activating the pineal and pituitary glands and even works wonders for those aiming to lose weight.

3. Salamba Sarvangasana: 

Also known as Supported Shoulder Stand.

How To Do:

  1. one needs to lie down on the floor resting on the back, hands placed beside the body.
  2. Now without moving your upper body, just try to lift up your legs in the upward direction.
  3. Swing your legs upwards and bring them in a 90-degree angle.
  4. By applying more force, swing your legs completely in the upward direction.
  5. Rest your hand (palms) on your back to support your position.
  6. Rest your shoulders on the ground.
  7. Remain steady in this position for 30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: Helps to sharpen your balancing skills. It improves blood circulation in your heart and head. It acts as a stimulator for your thyroid gland and keeps you away from thyroid-related problems. Helps in reducing fatigue and relieves you from the symptoms of menopause.

4. Matsyasana: 

This is also known as ‘The Fish Pose’.

How To Do:

  1. Lie down on your back and keep your hands beside your body, legs straight.
  2. Lift up your upper body (chest region) upwards. Breathe properly.
  3. Slightly lift up your buttocks a little only to slide your hands beneath them.
  4. Rest your buttocks on the upper side of your palms.
  5. As you lift your upper body in the upward direction, rest the crown of your head on the ground.
  6. Remain steady for 30 seconds and then release from the pose.

Benefits: Helps in improving blood circulation in the head. Also, it activates the pineal and pituitary glands in your body. It improves your breathing capacity. It stretches your hips, arms, shoulders, back (upper body) and your legs.  It helps to improve your body posture.

5. Padangusthasana: 

padangusthasana pose - Hatha Yoga

Image: Shutterstock

Also known as the ‘Big Toe Pose’.

How To Do:

  1. Stand on the floor in Tadasana (mountain) pose.
  2. Keep a distance of 6 inches between your legs.
  3. Take a deep breath. Bend your body downwards from your waist.
  4. Touch the toes of your feet with your fingers. Do not bend your knees.
  5. Close your eyes and remain steady in this position for 30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: Stretches your spine (back), legs, arms, shoulders, chest, belly organs, knees, and ankles. It keeps you away from knee and joint-related problems. It helps in improving blood circulation in your heart and head. It improves digestion.

6. Bhujangasana: 

Bhujangasana - Hatha Yoga

By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is known as the ‘Snake Pose’.

How To Do:

  1. Lie down on the floor on your belly. Place your hands besides your chest on the floor, palms facing down.
  2. Keep your legs straight and place the upper part of your feet on the floor.
  3. Lift up your chest off the floor. Keep your hips firm.
  4. Remain steady in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then release.

Benefits: It stretches and strengthens your spine, legs, knees, ankles, shoulders, arms and waist. It keeps you away from sciatica pain, helps in firming your buttocks and stimulates your abdominal organs. It helps in reducing belly fat and works wonders for those wanting to get rid of a fat belly.

7. Salabhasana: 

 

Salabhasana - Hatha Yoga

By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is also known as ‘The Locust Pose’.

How To Do:

  1. Lie down on the floor on your belly. Place your hands besides your chest on the floor, palms facing down.
  2. Keep your legs straight and place the upper part of your feet on the floor.
  3. Now, lift up your head a little. Lift up your upper body, thighs, and legs off the floor. Rest your body on your belly.
  4. Remain steady for about 30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: It strengthens your spine, upper and lower body, belly organs, abdominal muscles, arms, shoulders, thighs, legs, and ankles. It helps in improving your body posture. It keeps you away from minor backache problems as well. It increases your endurance capacity and improves your lungs’ capacity.

8. Mandukasana: 

This is also known as The Frog Pose.

How To Do:

  1. Sit in Vajrasana pose. Place your hands on your knees and the upper part of the feet on the ground.
  2. Place your legs in such a way that your hips rest on the soles of your feet.
  3. Keep your back straight. Now exhale and bend forwards from your waist until your forehead touches the floor.
  4. Remain steady for 30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: This asana helps in maintaining the body posture. Mandukasana is also a very good option for diabetics. This asana helps in strengthening your spine, thighs, knees, ankles, shoulders and arms. It improves blood circulation in your body and enhances the digestive system. It stimulates your abdominal organs as well.

9. Dhanurasana: 

Dhanurasana - Hatha Yoga

By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is also known as ‘The Bow Pose‘.

How To Do:

  1. Lie down on the floor on your belly. Place your hands besides your chest on the floor, palms facing down.
  2. Keep your legs straight and place the upper part of your feet on the floor.
  3. Bend your legs, your knees, and lift in the upward direction.
  4. Hold your legs with your hands and stretch them.
  5. Also, lift up your chest in the upward direction.
  6. Remain steady in this pose for 30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: It stretches and strengthens your spine, belly organs, thighs, legs, ankles, arms, and shoulders. It stimulates your abdominal organs and also helps in improving blood circulation in your chest and heart. It even acts as a kick start mechanism for your thyroid and thymus glands.

10. Vakrasana: 

This is also known as the ‘Twisting Pose’.

How To Do:

  1. Sit on the floor in Dandasana pose.
  2. Fold your right leg and place it on the floor in such a way that your foot rests on the floor.
  3. Lift up your left hand and rest it against your right leg and twist your body towards the right-hand side.
  4. Rest your other hand on the floor. Remain steady in this twisted position for 30 seconds and then release.
  5. Repeat on the other side as well.

Benefits: This asana gives a good stretch to your body, spine, legs and hands. It keeps you away from minor backache problems. It keeps you away from neck problems as well. It increases your lungs’ capacity and improves your digestive system as well.

11. Bakasana/Kakasana:

This is also known as ‘The Crow Pose’ or ‘The Crane Pose’.

  1. Stand on the floor in Tadasana pose.
  2. Come down to Uttanasana pose.
  3. Keep your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Bend from your hips.
  4. Lift up your legs in the air and try to rest them against your knees.
  5. Try balancing on your hands. Remain in this pose for 15-30 seconds and then release.

Benefits: It stretches and strengthens your arms and shoulders. It gives a good stretch to your spine, thighs, knees and ankles. It keeps you away from minor joint-related pains.

12. Shavasana: 

This is also known as ‘The Corpse Pose’. This is very important while practicing yoga asanas or pranayama.

How To Do:

  1. Lie down on the floor on your back.
  2. Spread your legs on the floor and rest your ankles on the ground.
  3. Let your body loose. Keep your hands in the same manner in which you keep your legs with your palms up.
  4. Keep your eyes closed until the end of the session.
  5. Relax your head on either side of the body in a comfortable position.
  6. Watch out your breath and concentrate on your whole body. Relax your mind, body, and soul.
  7. Remain steady for 5 to 10 minutes and then release. This is also known as deep relaxation.

Benefits: It calms the brain and relieves you of stress or mild depression. It helps in improving blood circulation in the body and relaxes your body parts. It relieves your body of minor pain issues. It acts as a cure for most diseases and helps in repairing tissues and cells in the body.

Pranayama/ Breathing exercises

Pranayama or breathing exercises are most important of all in a complete yoga session. Following are the types of breathing techniques included in a Hatha yoga session. Follow the steps below and get started:-

1. Kapalbhati:

  • Sit on the floor in Sukhasana, Padmasana, Ardha Padmasana or Vajrasana position.
  • Place your hands in Drona mudra on your knees.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Inhale deeply and exhale with many strokes as much as you can.
  • Ideally one should count 108 strokes of Kapalbhati in one sitting.

2. Bhastrika Pranayama:

  • Here, one can again sit in Sukhasana, Padmasana, Ardha Padmasana or Vajrasana position.
  • Place your hands in Drona mudra on your knees.
  • Keep your eyes closed until the end of the session.
  • Now inhale deeply and with full force exhale while making a sound.
  • Exhale completely and deeply. Practice this 20-25 times every day.

3. Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama: This is often considered as a basic type of pranayama.

  • Here one has to first sit on the floor in Sukhasana, Padmasana, Ardha Padmasana or Vajrasana pose.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Inhale deeply, close your left nostril and exhale with strokes from the right nostril.
  • One can start with 5 strokes and carry on up to 54.
  • Repeat the same on the other side as well.

Try practicing a unique Hatha yoga asanas and pranayama at home and check out the difference! Don’t forget to leave us a comment too!

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  • Abhijit Bansode

    this one is nice…!!!