A hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation.
Step 1: Arm Raises (Tadasana Variation)
Stand with your feet parallel, hip-distance apart, and your arms relaxed at your sides. Take a few breaths before proceeding.Inhaling, raise your arms to the front and over your head. Pause at the top.Exhaling, lower your arms.
Step 2: Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Stand with your feet parallel, hip-distance apart, and your arms at your sides. Take a few breaths before proceeding.
Inhaling, raise your arms to the front and then over your head, keeping your elbows relaxed.
Exhaling, fold forward, slightly bending the knees, taking the arms to the side and resting the hands on the small of the back.
Inhaling, lift your back, taking the arms to the front and over your head as you stand, keeping your knees slightly bent until the end of the movement.
Exhaling, lower your arms.
Repeat six times, synchronizing your movements to your breath.
Step 3: Kneeling Warrior (Kneeling Virabhadrasana)
Kneel, placing padding under the right knee. Step your left foot forward. Placing the hands at the center of the chest, take a few breaths in place.
Inhaling, bend your left knee while opening the arms and lifting the chest.
Exhaling, bring the hands back to the chest as you straighten the left knee and return to the starting position.
Repeat four times.
Then go into the posture and take the hands behind the back with the palms together and the fingers interlaced. Stay for four breaths before changing sides.
Step 4: Kneeling Forward Bend Sequence (Vajrasana/Chakravakasana/Adho Mukha Shvanasana Vinyasa)
Place padding under your knees and sit on your heels with your knees slightly apart and your hands on your thighs. Alternate beginning posture: Kneel upright with your arms at your sides and your knees hip-distance apart.
Inhaling, raise the arms to the front and over your head, while standing up on the knees.
Exhaling, take the hips toward your heels as you fold over the thighs. Keep the arms relaxed as they come to the floor.
Inhaling, move the chest forward over the hands, slightly arching the back and keeping the elbows soft.
Exhaling, tuck your toes under, lift the buttocks, lower the chest, and press firmly through all parts of the hands as you take downward-facing dog. Keep the head down.
Then do all the postures in reverse order until you find yourself where you began: Inhaling, bend the elbows and the knees, while dropping the knees to the floor and moving the chest forward. Arch the back slightly.
Exhaling, move the hips toward the heels, folding over the thighs. Rest the elbows on the floor and allow the forehead to relax onto or toward the floor.
Inhaling, lift the back, raising the arms to the front and over your head as you stand up on the knees.
Exhaling, sit down on your heels and lower your hands to your thighs.
Alternate: Exhaling, lower your arms to your sides.
Repeat six times, adding a breath in downward facing dog with each repetition.
Step 5: Supine Back Arch (Dvipada Pitham)
Lie on your back with your feet hip-distance apart on the floor and your arms comfortably at your sides, palms down. Pause for twelve breaths, fully releasing the back of the body into the floor. Link your attention to your breath before proceeding.
Inhaling, press through the feet and raise the hips off the floor, while lifting the arms over your head to the floor behind you. Keep the elbows slightly bent and all parts of each foot firmly pressing into the floor.
Exhaling, lower the hips and arms to the starting position.
Repeat 6 times dynamically, linking your movement to the duration of your breath.
Then take the pose, grabbing the ankles or placing the palms together behind your back with the fingers interlaced, and stay for six breaths.
Step 6: Prone Back Arch Sequence (Bhujangasana Vinyasa)
Lie on your stomach and place your forehead on the floor and your hands under your shoulders, or slightly in front. Separate your ankles a foot apart and relax your legs.
Inhaling, lift the chest, shoulders, and head, without pushing down on the hands. Keep the neck relaxed and the chin in a neutral position.
Exhaling, bend the knees, lifting the feet and drawing the heels in toward the buttocks.
Inhaling, lower the feet back to the floor.
Exhaling, lower the chest and forehead to the floor.
Repeat the cycle six times.
Then add a breath in each position for two cycles.
Step 7: Bow Posture (Dhanurasana)
Keeping the forehead on the floor, lift your feet and reach back and take hold of your ankles.
Inhaling, lift the chest, shoulders, head, feet, and thighs.
Exhaling, release the posture.
Repeat six times, linking your breath and movement.
Then stay in the posture for six breaths.
Step 8: Supine Rest
Lie on your back with the legs outstretched for twelve breaths, observing the sensations in your body and breath.
Suggestions: Always take a short rest before counterposing. Observe the effects of the posture. Notice the cadence of your breath. As the rhythm returns to normal, proceed with the counterposes.
Step 9: Supine Back Arch (Dvipada Pitham)
Practice the supine back arch (Step 5) with the following arm variation:
Inhaling, sweep the arms along the floor and then over your head while lifting the hips.
Exhaling, sweep the arms back to your sides while lowering the spine.
Repeat six times.
Step 10: Knees-to-Chest/Leglift Combination (Apanasana/Urdhva Prasarita Padasana Vinyasa)
Lie on your back with your knees comfortably in toward your chest and the palms of your hands on your kneecaps.
Inhaling, allow the thighs to glide away from you, keeping the chin in a neutral position.
Exhaling, draw the knees toward your chest, bending the elbows.
Inhaling, stretch the legs up, while lifting the arms to the floor behind you.
Exhaling, bring the hands to the knees and the knees to the chest.
Repeat the cycle six times.
Then repeat it twice more, staying for one breath in each posture into which you exhale.
Step 11: Final Rest (Shavasana)
Lie comfortably on your back with the legs extended and the arms at your sides.