Cooling Yoga Poses

Yoga is a form of exercise which is apt for all, from the healthiest to the sickest, from the richest to the poorest, from the whitest to the blackest. The benefit of yoga is immense. It brings down stress and enhances powers of relaxation, boosts physical strength, stamina and flexibility, bestows greater powers of concentration and self control, boosts functioning of the immune system, enhances posture and muscle tone and infuses a sense of balance and internal harmony.

Dog and Cat posture

This is really two poses, one flowing into the other. Begin on your hands and knees. Keep your hands just in front of your shoulders, your legs about hip width apart. As you inhale, tilt the tailbone and pelvis up, and let the spine curve downward, dropping the stomach low, and lift your head up. Stretch gently. As you exhale, move into cat by reversing the spinal bend, tilting the pelvis down, drawing the spine up and pulling the chest and stomach in. Repeat several times, flowing smoothly from dog into cat, and cat back into dog.

Mountain - Tadasana

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.

Stand with feet together, hands at your sides, eyes looking forward. Raise your toes, fan them open, then place them back down on the floor. Feel your heel, outside of your foot, toes and ball of your foot all in contact with the floor. Tilt your pubic bone slightly forward. Raise your chest up and out, but within reason - this isn't the army and you're not standing at attention. Raise your head up and lengthen the neck by lifting the base of your skull toward the ceiling. Stretch the pinky on each hand downward, and then balance that movement by stretching your index fingers.

Virabhadrasana

Begin in mountain pose with feet together and hands at side. Step your feet 4-5 feet apart. Turn your right foot about 45 degrees to the left. Turn your left foot 90 degrees to the left so that it is pointing straight out to the side. Slowly bend the left knee until the thigh is parallel with the floor, but keep the knee either behind or directly over your ankle. Raise your arms over head. Then slowly lower them until your left arm is pointing straight ahead and your right arm is pointing back. Concentrate on a spot in front of you and breathe. Take 4 or 5 deep breaths, lower your arms, and bring your legs together. Reverse the position.

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Builds strength, flexibility and awareness; stretches the spine and hamstrings; rests the heart. Start on your hands and knees. Keep your legs about hip width apart and your arms shoulder width apart. Your middle fingers should be parallel, pointing straight ahead. Roll your elbows so that the eye or inner elbow is facing forward. Inhale and curl your toes under, as if getting ready to stand on your toes. Exhale and straighten your legs; push upward with your arms. The goal is to lengthen the spine while keeping your legs straight and your feet flat on the ground. However, in the beginning its okay to bend the knees a bit and to keep your heels raised. The important thing is to work on lengthening the spine.