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Poses Yin bottom 2
Left menu Backward Bend
Balance Posture
Bow
Chest Expansion
Cobra
Corpse
Crow Pose
Fish
Forward Bend
Headstand
Knee and Thigh
Locust
Lotus
Mountain Pose
Peacock Pose
Plough
Shoulder Stand
Spinal Twist
Standing Fwd Bend
Triangle

Yoga Poses

You must always decide for yourself what you can and can’t do, what you will or won’t do at any given time and place. It is the same with yoga. Even if a teacher or a book says you should know or do something you have to make the decision for yourself.

Not being able to do the basic poses does not cut you out of getting the benefits of these poses because the benefits are in the doing of them not the perfect attainment of doing it perfectly.

Is a basic pose a beginner pose? Not necessarily. A beginner may have to work up to doing a basic pose. Even advanced practitioners of yoga must warm up before doing their practice and that definitely involves the simpler poses. Do not confuse what may be called basic poses with beginner poses. Beginners are beginners and should proceed accordingly. All sensible efforts in yoga are rewarded with better health and well being. You do not have to twist yourself into knots to achieve results. Although the aim is for the correct posture, the simple act of doing the poses is what gives people the benefits of yoga, not the perfect posture. The perfect pose may never be reached but the benefits will be because of the doing of the pose.

Basic simply means these poses are of great benefit and the attempting to do them will give you healthful results. but do them carefully and gently. Here is another example of suggested basic poses:

All poses stretch and strengthen the body and mind. The general rule to follow is to do a balanced practice of yoga. If you bend forward then also bend backward, if you bend right of course you bend left. Balanced practice should also be considered to include standing, sitting, laying down poses, etc. Come out of poses the opposite of how you entered them. Always practice carefully, never force, go only as far as is comfortable, slow, gentle, awareness are the key rules in doing yoga. These are the things to try to keep in mind when you do the yoga poses.

Yoga poses “create deep openings in the muscles around the spine, beginning at the tailbone and working up the spine. We accomplish this with precision of alignment of the body. While the emphasis is on the precision, there is compassion as the student is encouraged to go only as far as her/his body allows at the time. With this combination of compassionate precision, core tensions in the body begin to release.”
http://www.blissyogi.freeservers.com/

You must always decide for yourself what you can and can’t do, what you will or won’t do at any given time and place. It is the same with yoga. Even if a teacher or a book says you should know or do something you have to make the decision for yourself.

Not being able to do the basic poses does not cut you out of getting the benefits of these poses because the benefits are in the doing of them not the perfect attainment of doing it perfectly.

Is a basic pose a beginner pose? Not necessarily. A beginner may have to work up to doing a basic pose. Even advanced practitioners of yoga must warm up before doing their practice and that definitely involves the simpler poses. Do not confuse what may be called basic poses with beginner poses. Beginners are beginners and should proceed accordingly. All sensible efforts in yoga are rewarded with better health and well being. You do not have to twist yourself into knots to achieve results. Although the aim is for the correct posture, the simple act of doing the poses is what gives people the benefits of yoga, not the perfect posture. The perfect pose may never be reached but the benefits will be because of the doing of the pose.

Basic simply means these poses are of great benefit and the attempting to do them will give you healthful results. but do them carefully and gently. Here is another example of suggested basic poses:

“The asanas in this section are the basic poses that every yoga practitioner is supposed to know. The basic poses are to be learned in the sequence presented. They are arranged in the approximate order of difficulty. Each new pose can be taken a new day. The basic poses are:

Lotus (Sukhasana)
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Balance Posture(Natarajasana)
Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana) (what is meant here is a forward bend that stretches the back of the body by stretching forward so it really should be called a forward bend)
Cobra(Bhujaangasana)
Simple chest Expansion(Ardha Chakrasana)
Simple Triangle (Trikasana)
Leg Clasp (Padahastasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)
Simple Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Backward Bend (Supta Vajrasana)
Knee and thigh Stretch (Bhadasana)
Plough(Halasana)
Shoulder Stand(Sarvangasana)
Simple Fish (Matsya)
Simple Locust (Salabhasana)
Deep Relaxation (Savasana)”
http://www.indianmirror.com/games/gam8.html

Asanas (Poses)

As animals we humans are supposed to move around. We are physically built for actions and exercise. “If our lifestyle does not provide natural motion of muscles and joints, then disease and great discomfort will ensue with time. Proper exercise should be pleasant to the practitioner while beneficial to the body, mind and spiritual life.”
http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/philosophy/fivepoints.html

Though there are “numerous modern physical culture systems designed to develop the muscles through mechanical movements and exercises…Yoga regards the body as a vehicle for the soul on its journey towards perfection” and the physical exercises develop the mind and spirit as well as the body.

In yoga asanas (steady poses) are what the exercises are called. They are meant to be held for a certain amount of time depending on how advanced a person is. The first efforts in yoga are concerned with increasing the body’s flexibility. Yoga teaches that “the body is as young as it is flexible” and focuses on strength, flexibility, circulation and breathing. The asanas affect the body inside and outside. According to traditional surya namaskar (sun salutation) is done before the asanas. “Although there are many Asanas (8,400,000 according to the scriptures) the practice of the 12 basic postures brings out the essence and all major benefits of this wonderful system.”

“These 12 Basic Postures are:
Headstand (Sirshasana)
Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
Plough (Halasana)
Fish (Matsyasana)
Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)
Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Locust (Shalabhasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)
Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Crow pose (Kakasana) or Peacock pose (Mayurasana)
Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)
Triangle (Trikonasana)”

Usually at the end of practice a deep final relaxation pose is done - Corpse (Savasana)
“Sitting postures for meditation and Pranayama include the lotus pose.” Meditation is quiet awareness and relaxation and pranayama is breathing and a comfortable position is necessary to be able to do yoga relaxation and breathing correctly.
http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/asana/exercise.html

If you know anything about yoga and the above asanas you may not think these poses are basic in the usual sense of being something simple and easy. Most of these poses seem quite advanced and difficult to do and may take years to develop proficiency so I don’t know if I consider them basic. Maybe the yogis at this website think these are the (basic) ones everybody should know and try to achieve but not the basic ones for beginners who are just starting out.

For example the above list includes lotus pose as a basic pose but the information at the Ananda Guidelines emphasizes caution regarding this pose:

“Sitting poses: When entering the cross-legged positions, be sure that all rotation occurs in the hip joint, not in the knee. The lotus pose, or even the half lotus pose, is not for beginners unless their hips are already very flexible.”

Above all else yoga does respect the body, mind and spirit even when it seems not to on the surface. You just have to be sure you really understand what the instructions are really saying and not some simple misunderstanding because words and interpretations may not be perfect.
http://www.extragentleyoga.com/AnandaGuidelines.html

General Guidelines for Ananda Yoga™

Comparing Basic Poses
If you compare these two suggested groups of basic poses some are the same and some are different. Who is right? Both are right, and they are different and others have other basic poses they think are “the” basic poses and you always have to decide what to do with the information you learn for yourself. The gist of it is that all poses offer benefits and if done sensibly will give those benefits to the people who do them.

Here they are from each group in two different colors (black and red) to help distinguish the two different sets of basic poses:

Lotus (Sukhasana)
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Balance Posture (Natarajasana)
Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana) (what is meant here is a forward bend that stretches the
back of the body by stretching forward so it really should be called a forward bend)
Cobra (Bhujaangasana)
Simple Chest Expansion (Ardha Chakrasana)
Simple Triangle (Trikasana)
Leg Clasp (Padahastasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)
Simple Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Backward Bend (Supta Vajrasana)
Knee and Thigh Stretch (Bhadasana)
Plough (Halasana)
Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Simple Fish (Matsya)
Simple Locust (Salabhasana)
Deep Relaxation (Savasana)”
http://www.indianmirror.com/games/gam8.html

Headstand (Sirshasana)
Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
Plough (Halasana)
Fish (Matsyasana)
Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)
Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Locust (Shalabhasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)
Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Crow pose (Kakasana) or Peacock pose (Mayurasana)
Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)
Triangle (Trikonasana)”

Corpse (Savasana)
Lotus pose
http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/asana/exercise.html

Here they are compared to each other in alphabetical order:

Backward Bend (Supta Vajrasana)

Balance Posture (Natarajasana)

Bow (Dhanurasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)

Simple Chest Expansion (Ardha Chakrasana)

Cobra (Bhujaangasana)
Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Crow pose (Kakasana) or Peacock pose (Mayurasana)

Simple Fish (Matsya)
Fish (Matsyasana)

Headstand (Sirshasana)

Knee and Thigh Stretch (Bhadasana)

Simple Locust (Salabhasana)
Locust (Shalabhasana)

Lotus (Sukhasana)
Lotus pose

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana) (really a forward bend that stretches the back)
Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)

Leg Clasp (Padahastasana)
Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)

Plough (Halasana)
Plough (Halasana)

Deep Relaxation (Savasana)
Corpse (Savasana)

Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)

Simple Triangle (Trikasana)
Triangle (Trikonasana)

Simple Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Basic Poses

The body and mind have great potential especially if you treat them right. Different resources (books, websites, people) have different poses that they say are basic. But sometimes some seem too advanced to be called basic for a beginner. Maybe they mean this pose is basic and you can do more with it like a headstand – just straight up is basic, but there are many variations that people know to do with it like putting their legs in different positions. To me basic means simple, easy, safe, something a beginner would do without struggling or danger of injury. All of the basic and advanced poses can be described in simple words. What you do with these words and your body and mind is what makes it basic or advanced, good, spiritual, safe, healthy, etc.

How do you define basic? Basic poses are simple. Actually all the poses are simple, the doing of the poses is easy or hard according to how strong and flexible a person’s body is. The poses become more advanced when you add more variations to them.

For example, the mountain pose is basic (for a normal person). It is just standing, but with attention to the details of how aware you are of your body and how you deal with your body (like the weight distribution and balance on your feet). Are you rolling too much to the outside or inside of your feet, leaning too much to the right or left or too far back on your heels, etc. or is your weight evenly distributed throughout your feet? You can follow your awareness all the way along your body and improve your ability to perform the pose by making adjustments. Doing the pose properly gives you the benefits of the pose.

The mountain becomes more advanced when you start to add balancing into the equation. For example, when the mountain turns into a tree - one foot is put on the opposite leg on the inside of the thigh. Now you are still standing (hopefully) but you have added balancing into the picture and this may be easy or impossible depending on your body and/or mental state. If you are weak or distracted you may not be able to do it. Some
people might consider this a basic pose and feel the foot would have to be high up near the hip in order to be considered advanced. Some people might have trouble standing unassisted and would consider the mountain pose difficult. They may need assistance to just stand and to them that would be a hard pose. Yoga allows each person the freedom and responsibility to be what they are and take care of themselves properly and safely. Yoga is for smart people – smart enough to take care of themselves, not go beyond their limits, be perceptive and receptive about what yoga has to offer.

“Be kind to yourself when you practice yoga. Go slowly, especially in the beginning, and listen to your body. It knows what it can do. If it says "stop," stop. Don't push it. Yoga is not a competitive sport. You don't win points for matching a picture in a book (or on a website). If you push too hard, you probably won't enjoy it, and you may hurt yourself. Whenever possible, work with a teacher, and use books, videos and websites to supplement your classroom instruction. Most of all, stick with it. If you practice, you will improve. And you will feel better. Jai Bhagwan.”
http://www.yogasite.com/postures.html

Some very easy and simple basic poses for beginners are:

Basic Standing Pose
Mountain (Tadasana)
The mountain is just standing. Right? We don’t need to be taught how to stand, do we? We’ve been doing it a lot for a long time. Right? Well, standing may not be exactly what you might think.

“A deceptive pose in that it appears so simple that some students may ask – ‘why bother?’ But just as there's more to breathing than meets the eye, there is more to standing, too.”

Just look at some of the things to consider while just standing around, or…ah…being a mountain:
1. Stand, feet together, hands at sides, eyes forward.
2. Raise on your toes, fanning them open and then putting back down. Feel the different parts of your foot: heel, outside, toes, ball, feel them all in contact with floor.
3. Tilt pubic bone slightly forward and back.
4. Raise “chest up and out, but within reason - this isn't the army and you're not standing at attention.”
5. Raise head up, lengthen “neck by lifting the base of your skull toward the ceiling.”
6. “Stretch the pinky on each hand downward, then balance that movement by stretching your index fingers. Push into the floor with your feet and raise your legs, first the calves and then the thighs.”
7. Breathe. (Books have been written about yoga and breathing.)
8. “Hold the posture, but try not to tense up. Breathe. As you inhale, imagine the breath coming up through the floor, rising through your legs and torso and up into your head. Reverse the process on the exhale and watch your breath as it passes down from your head, through your chest and stomach, legs and feet.”
9. “Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, relax and repeat.”
10. “On your next inhale, raise your arms over head (Urdhava Hastasana) and hold for several breaths. Lower your arms on an exhale.”
11. “As a warm up, try synchronizing the raising and lowering of your arms with your breath - raise, inhale; lower, exhale. Repeat 5 times.”

Benefits: develops better posture, balance and self-awareness…and by the end you feel you deserve a PhD in good standing.
http://www.yogasite.com/postures.html

Basic Sitting Pose
Sit/Easy Position (Sukhasana)

Sitting on the floor with legs bent and cross legged, back straight, push your sitting bones down towards the floor, let your knees gently lower, put your hands on your knees, concentrate on your breathing. If your knees come up above your hips sit on something like a blanket or cushion to support your back and hips. Breath slowly and deeply.

Variation: Inhale as you raise arms overhead. Exhale as you lower arms slowly down.

Benefits: develops awareness of breath and body; strengthening lower back, opening groin and hips.
http://www.yogasite.com/postures.html

Basic Laying Down Pose
Corpse (Savasana), also called Sponge

Some people consider this one of the most difficult poses because of the human tendency to be tense in body and mind. To be able to consciously relax and still be aware is a balancing act. This pose does not require strength in the usual sense of the word but it does require it. Gentle strength and flexibility. Try it and see for yourself. Though it may be subtle you will get something out of it.

Lay “on your back, feet slightly apart, arms at your sides with palms facing up. Close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths. Allow your body to sink into the ground. Try focusing on a specific part of the body and willing it to relax. For example, start with your feet, imagine the muscles and skin relaxing, letting go and slowly melting into the floor. From your feet, move on to your calves, thighs and so on up to your face and head. Then simply breathe and relax.”

“Possibly the most important posture…is as deceptively simple as Tadasana, the Mountain pose.” The corpse or sponge pose can be performed anytime and is often the last pose done because “the goal is conscious relaxation.” Though people sometimes have a hard time doing it consciously “because it is very easy to drift off to sleep while doing Savasana.”

Benefits: relaxation, refresh body and mind, relieve stress and anxiety, quiet the mind.
http://www.yogasite.com/postures.html

Basic Eye Exercises
“Like any other muscles, the eye muscles need exercise if they are to be healthy and strong. Much of the time we only shift our gaze minimally from left to right, as when reading, and turn our heads if we want to look elsewhere. By moving the eyes in every direction, without turning your head at all, these five yoga eye exercises will strengthen the muscles, and help to prevent eyestrain and improve eyesight. Breathe normally while you are practicing them.

First look up, then look down. Now look to the far right and then look far left. Next look up to the right, then look diagonally downward to the left. Repeat in the opposite direction. Now imagine a large clock - look up at 12 o'clock, then circle around it clockwise, quite slowly for two rounds then quicker for three. Repeat the exercise in an anti clockwise direction. Lastly, hold your thumb up about a foot from your face, and move your eyes from the thumb to the wall beyond and back. To end always "palm" your eyes as shown below.
Rolling the eyes
1. Look up; look down (x5).
2. Look far right; look far left (x5).
3. Look top right; look bottom left (x5); look top left; look bottom right (x5).
4. Look up, circle around clockwise (x5); anticlockwise (x5).
5. Look at the thumb, then wall, then back, near to far focusing (x5).

Palming
Rub your palms together vigorously until they feel warm. Now cup your hands over your closed eyes, without pressing. The heat and the darkness will soothe and relax your eyes.”
http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/eyeexercises.asp

For more about eye exercises check out Meir Schneider who was legally blind and restored his sight through eye exercises he developed. Meir Schneider, School for Self-Healing, Yoga for Your Eyes (book)
http://www.self-healing.org/

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