Hatha Yoga Tip
TRIKONASANA – TRIANGLE (con’t) – VARIATIONS FROM BEGINNER TO INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED
First variation with simple hip twist: Beginner
Stand with legs about twice shoulder width apart. Turn the left foot to the left and right foot slightly in to the left. Interlock fingers behind the back. The front heel is aligned with the Centre of the back foot. Rotate the hips to the left so the chest is aligned with the front leg in this case the left leg and foot. Adjust feet if necessary. Inhale and stretch the body up and exhale, bending forehead and chest to the left leg. Keep knees straight and keep holding arms behind the back with fingers in interlocked position. Hold up to a minute and repeat on opposite side.
Second variation with spinal twist: Intermediate
Stand with feet apart about twice shoulder width or wider, and left foot pointing to left, right foot slightly to left. Inhale and stretch arms parallel out to sides.
Exhale and twist body from the waist to the left so the hips are rotated to the direction of the front leg and foot, in this case the left leg is the front leg. Have equal weight on both feet. Bend down, keeping the knees straight and bringing the right palm down on the outside of the left foot or on top of it. Stretch the left arm up, opening the chest and look at the fingertips of the left hand. The palm is facing forward. Both arms are straight and form one straight line. Hold pose and come out in reverse order. Switch to opposite side and hold for equal time.
Third variation with bent knee: Intermediate
Take feet apart as in second variation but a little further apart. Bend the left knee sinking weight into that leg and bring the left arm down, placing the left palm on the mat inside the left foot. Stretch the right arm out over the head alongside the right ear, making a straight line from right hand to the right foot. Right knee is straight and foot is flat on the mat. Look up under right armpit while holding the pose. Switch to opposite side and hold for equal time.
In bent knee variations, keep the ankle aligned under the bent knee.
Fourth variation with bent knee and head to toe: Advanced
From variation two with bent left knee, take the hands behind the back interlocking the fingers. Inhale and lift the back until it is aligned with the bent left leg, looking forward and keeping your balance on both feet. Exhale and bend forward, aiming to place the top of the head on the floor next to the left foot. Hold up to 30 seconds. Come out of the pose by lifting the torso and repeating on the opposite side.
• All the benefits of basic Trikonasana plus with hip rotation and spinal twist, the side of the body is lengthened and twisted, muscles receive more toning and stretching.
• The spine is laterally stretched more powerfully.
• The pelvic girdle is stretched and strengthened.
• Sense of balance training.
• Increased leg strengthening and stretching of muscles.
• Intense strengthening for quadriceps muscles particularly in the bent knee variations.
Utilize time profitably in spiritual pursuits. – Sri Swami Sivananda
HATHA YOGA, ASANAS, PRANAYAMA:
Hatha Yoga relates to the restraint of breath (Pranayama), Asanas, Bandhas and Mudras. ‘Ha’ and ‘tha’ mean the union of the sun and the moon, union of Prana and Apana Vayus. ‘Hatha’ means any tenacious practice till the object or end is achieved. Trataka, standing on one leg, (a kind of Tapas) and similar poses are all Hatha Yoga practices. Hatha Yoga is inseparable from Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga begins where Hatha Yoga ends. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are interdependent. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are the necessary counterparts of each other. No one can become a perfect Yogi without a knowledge and practice of both the Yogas. Hatha Yoga prepares the student to take up Raja Yoga.
A Hatha Yogi starts his Sadhana with body and Prana; a Raja Yogi starts his Sadhana with his mind; a Jnana Yogi starts his Sadhana with Buddhi or intellect and will.
A Hatha Yogi gets Siddhis (psychic powers) by uniting Prana and Apana and by taking the united Prana-Apana through the six Chakras (Centres of spiritual energy) to Sahasrara at the crown of the head. A Raja Yogi gets Siddhis by Samyama, i.e., combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one time. A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through pure will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets Siddhis through self-surrender and the consequent descent of grace. Kriyas, viz., Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Tratak and Kapalabhati belong to Hatha Yoga. All need not practise these Kriyas. Those who have got much phlegm in the body should practise these Kriyas. Learn these under an expert Hatha Yogi. Hatha Yoga is not the goal. It is only a means to an end. Take to Raja Yoga after possessing good health.
Do Asana, Kumbhaka, Mudra and shake the Kundalini. Then take it to Sahasrara through Chakras in the Sushumna. O children of light! Will you drink not, will you drink not, the nectar of immortality?
Brother! Attain good health. Without health how can you live? Without health, how can you earn? Without health how can you get success in Yoga or any undertaking? Possess wonderful health through the practice of Hatha Yoga. Drink the nectar in Sahasrara and live in the immortal abode of Siva.
An Asana is a posture.
Health is wealth. Health is indeed a covetable possession. Good health is a valuable asset to one and all. It can be achieved by the regular practice of Yoga Asanas.
The practice of Asanas controls the emotions, produces mental peace, distributes Prana evenly throughout the body and different systems, helps in maintaining healthy functioning of the internal organs, gives internal massage to the various abdominal organs. Physical exercises draw the Prana (energy) out but the Asanas send the Prana in. The practice of Asanas cures many diseases and awakens Kundalini Shakti. These are the chief advantages in the Yogic system of exercises which no other systems have.
Practice a few Asanas daily at least for a period of fifteen minutes. You will possess wonderful health. Be regular in your practice. Regularity is of paramount importance. Practise Bhujang, Salabh, Dhanur, Sarvang, Hala and Paschimottasan Asanas. Bhujang, Salabh and Dhanur will remove constipation and muscular pain of the back. Sirsh, Sarvang and Hala will help you in maintaining Brahmacharya, rendering the spine elastic and curing all diseases. Paschimottasan will reduce fat in the belly and help digestion. Relax all muscles in Savasana in the end.
Asanas should be done on empty stomach in the morning or at least three hours after food. Morning time is best for doing Asanas. Do not wear spectacles when you do Asanas. Be moderate in your diet. Answer the calls of nature before you start the practice. Start with minimum time for each Asana and then gradually increase the period.
Pranayama is the regulation of breath or control of Prana. It is an exact science. It is the fourth Anga or limb of Ashtanga Yoga.
Pranayama steadies the mind, augments the gastric fire, energizes digestion, invigorates the nerves, destroys the Rajas, destroys all diseases, removes all laziness, makes the body light and healthy and awakens Kundalini.
Pranayama should be practiced when the stomach is empty. Be regular in your practice. Do not take bath immediately after the practice. Do not practice Kumbhaka or retention of breath in the beginning. Have only slow and mild Puraka (inhalation) and Rechaka (exhalation). Do not strain the breath beyond your capacity. Keep the ratio for Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka as 1:4:2. Exhale very very slowly.
Sit on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana. Keep the head, neck and trunk in a straight line. Inhale slowly through the left nostril and retain the breath according to the ratio, then exhale slowly through the right nostril. This is half process of Pranayama. Then inhale through the right nostril, retain and exhale through the left nostril. Do not retain the breath for more than one or two minutes.
Do ten or twenty Pranayamas according to your capacity. Do not fatigue yourself. Increase the number gradually. You can go up to 16:64:32. This is Sukhapurvaka or easy comfortable Pranayama.
Practice Sitali in summer. This will purify your blood and cool the system too. Practice Bhastrika in winter. This will cure asthma and consumption. Repeat ‘Om’ or ‘Rama’ mentally during the practice. Observe Brahmacharya and diet-control. You will derive maximum benefits and will quickly purify the Nadis or nerves.
Prana and mind are intimately related to each other. If you control Prana, the mind will also be controlled. If you control the mind, the Prana will be automatically controlled. Prana is related to mind, and through it to will and through will to the individual soul and through individual soul to the Supreme Soul.
Start the practice this very second in right earnest. Control the breath and calm the mind. Steady the breath and enter Samadhi. Restrain the breath and lengthen the life. Subdue the breath and become a Yogi, a dynamo of power, peace, bliss and happiness.
Complete glossary can be found at:
Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers. – Sri Swami Sivananda