Which asana for what effect?
Anyone who has been practicing yoga for a while knows how many different yoga poses - called asanas in Sanskrit - there are. Which ones do you choose for your own practice?
Or you are just starting yoga and are almost overwhelmed by all the exotic-sounding names, have no idea which pose is for what, and how best to perform the pose. This blog will make choosing a particular asana easier.
Different types of yoga poses
There are six types of yoga poses, each category having different effects on your body, and specifically on your nervous system. Within the different types, there are multiple asanas.
For example, twisted poses are one category, within which, for example, the pose ardha matsyendrasana (Seated Twist) falls. Precisely a combination of forward bends, back bends, twists, extensions, inverted poses and lateral poses that stretch the side of the body is incredibly important.
After all, ultimately with yoga you would like to make room throughout the body for the breath and flow of energy.
Seven simple and powerful asanas
In the overview below, you will find seven simple, yet powerful and effective yoga poses, which you can do quite easily at home on your own yoga mat. All include the different types of asanas I wrote about above. Choose the ones that appeal to you, or whose effect you would like to experience. Or do all seven in succession and turn them into a short healing sequence.
Seated Forward Bend
This pose stretches your lower back and hips and opens your hamstrings. Pressure is created in your abdomen which stimulates circulation and the removal of waste products. The bladder and kidney meridian are stimulated, your blood sugar regulated and the pose relaxes and calms your mind.
This entertaining video gives all the tips and tricks for the Seated Forward Bend:
With the bridge (a back bend) you stretch your hips, neck, chest and back and stimulate your abdominal organs, thyroid and lungs. The pose provides relief from menstrual complaints and tired legs. It also calms your mind. Because your heart is higher than your head, stress, fatigue, back pain, headaches and insomnia decrease. No more excuses not to do this pose right?
You can see a good explanation of the Bridge in this video:
The Mountain Pose
The Mountain Pose is the foundation of all standing poses. The pose trains many important muscle groups at the same time. It improves your posture and balance and has a grounding effect. Good for adolescents!
The pose helps you become aware of your body. Because your whole body is active, energy begins to flow, blood circulation improves and breathing deepens.
A (somewhat old) video from the famous (Yoga with) Adriene in which she deeply explores the seemingly simple Mountain Pose:
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Almost impossible to create a collection of asanas without including the Downward Facing Dog.This inverted pose allows energy to flow throughout the body and is invigorating. It combats stiffness in your legs, back and shoulders and is effective against headaches, insomnia, some types of back pain, stress and fatigue.
In this video, American yogis Alba and Ashton demonstrate the do's and don'ts of the Downward Dog:
Stretched Angle Posture
You come into the Stretched Angle Pose from the Downward Dog described above. Utthita Parsvakonasana stretches your entire side of your body and strengthens legs, ankles and knees. Your chest and hips are opened. The pose stimulates your third chakra, your solar plexus, and affects your stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, liver and spleen. Your solar plexus chakra is related to willpower and perseverance. So let's get on with it!
A to-the-point video showing you in an instant how this lateral pose is performed:
Twisted Abdominal Stance or Reclining Twist
This pose - of the twisted pose type - gives space and flexibility in the lower back and opens the chest. The pressure created in your abdomen has a detoxifying effect and makes your digestion work better, which means new energy and less fatigue. It makes your core stronger and more flexible.
See the best way to perform the Twisted Belly pose here:
Supta Baddha Konasana
In classical yoga texts, the Reclining Butterfly is considered a posture with therapeutic qualities. It is a hip opener that provides deep relaxation and helps with anxiety and mild depression. The pose lengthens your back while stimulating abdominal organs, bladder, kidneys and reproductive organs. It also improves your heart and blood circulation.
This video focuses on yoga poses that can help with sleep problems:
Sleep well! :-)