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    Pranayama Breathing

    Pranayama Breathing

    Standing Deep Breathing Pose: Pranayama

    Before you begin doing the actual Hatha Yoga poses, start by doing the Standing Deep Breathing pose, also called the Pranayama. This will help you expand your lungs, improve detoxification of the organs, and increase mental relaxation as well as blood flow – all of these will prove very useful during your Hatha Yoga workout.

    How to Do:

    More detailed instructions

    • Make sure to breath slowly as this will facilitate lung expansion.
    • Keep your back straight all the time and do not bend backwards. This will be easier to achieve if you suck your belly in so that your rib cage protrudes a bit.
    • As you exhale, tilt your head back slightly, while keeping your eyes open.
    • Shoulders should be kept in line with hips. Hips should be kept forward (you’ll achieve this by slightly squeezing your buttocks).
    • When exhaling, make sure to breath out completely to get rid of every bit of CO2 in your lungs.
    • Finally, don’t worry if you feel a little dizzy during this pose or if you feel a slight pinch in the shoulder area – these are completely normal symptoms and indicate that you are doing things right.

    Do the above pose for a few minutes, and then move on to the remaining Yoga Poses, outlined below:

    Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose

    Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose

    Half-Moon Pose with Hands-to-Feet Pose: Ardha Chandrasana with Pada Hastasana (NOTE: These are 2 poses.)

    Purposes and Benefits:

      • Provides quick energy and vitality for your practice session
      • Corrects any issues with posture or with lower-back pain
      • Strengthens thighs, calves, and all of body’s central muscles
      • Exercises circulatory, glandular, pancreatic, muscular, respiratory, renal, and skeletal systems
      • Improves bowel activity by toning abdominal organs and spinal nerves
      • Firms and trims abdomen, buttocks, hips, and waistline
      • Lessens anxiety and mental stress
      • Increases spinal flexibility

    How to Do:

    More detailed instructions & video here

    • Lock arms and fully engage arm muscles
    • Straighten body towards ceiling
    • While bending backwards, evenly distribute this bend over all of your spine
    • During Hands-to-Feet pose, glue body to legs and move elbows as close to each other as possible behind calf muscles
    • Lift hips up towards ceiling while moving face increasingly further down your shins

    Awkward Pose

    Awkward Pose

    Awkward Pose: Utkatasana

    Purposes and Benefits:

    • Continues warming up body for all other yoga poses
    • Heals chronically cold feet
    • Circulates fresh blood to knees and ankles
    • Alleviates rheumatism and arthritis in legs
    • Strengthens and firms all muscles of legs and upper arms
    • Increases hip flexibility and relieves muscular aches and cramps
    • Helps to cure slipped discs and other lower-spine problems

    How to Do:

    More detailed instructions 

    • Maintain 6-inch gap between knees and hands while keeping them parallel to floor
    • Ensure that shoulders stay down by relaxing them throughout all 3 stages of this pose
    • Ease exhaustion by focusing on stretching arms out
    • Keep fingers together
    • Breathe at normal pace

    Eagle Pose

    Eagle Pose

     Eagle Pose: Garurasana

    Purposes and Benefits:

    • Works into 12 major joints of body
    • Warms body and readies it for next 3 poses
    • Promotes health of central nervous system
    • Enhances lymphatic functions
    • Improves balance, hip-joint mobility, and immune system
    • Strengthens deltoid, trapezius, and legs
    • Reduces varicose veins

    How to Do:

    More detailed instructions 

    • Remember to breathe
    • Pull in stomach and keep it away from thighs
    • Position fingers below nose
    • Keep palms together
    • Enter sitting posture and maintain straight spine
    • Squeeze knees and thighs together in all areas that you feel contact between them to increase tourniquet effect
    • Focus body weight onto heel of standing foot and eventually eliminate gap between wrapped foot and back of standing leg

    Standing Head To Knee Pose

    Standing Head To Knee Pose

     Standing Head-to-Knee Pose: Dandayamana Janushirasana

    Purposes and Benefits:

    • Uses all major muscle groups
    • Exercises digestive and reproductive organs
    • Improves concentration and mental strength
    • Unifies body and mind
    • Tightens abdominal and thigh muscles
    • Lessens/mitigates diabetic disorders
    • Squeezes and flushes out ovaries, uterus, and internal abdominal organs, such as gall bladder, pancreas, and spleen
    • Increases flexibility of sciatic nerves
    • Strengthens the following: Tendons, hamstrings, and biceps of thigh muscles; Biceps, triceps, deltoids, trapezius, back muscles, latissimus dorsi, and scapula

    How to Do:

    • Evenly distribute weight over 4 points of standing foot
    • Lock knee of standing leg
    • Maintain tight grip with all 10 fingers
    • Keep non-standing leg parallel to floor
    • Suck in stomach and contract abdominal muscles
    • Move foot toward face and past perpendicular position
    • Touch elbows to calf muscle
    • Tuck chin to chest, round spine, and touch forehead to knee