12 Basic Asanas

The twelve basic yoga poses or asanas (meaning steady pose) here form the foundation of the Sivananda Open Class. They exercise every part of the body, stretching and toning the muscles and joints, the spine and the entire skeletal system. And they work not only on the frame but also on the internal organs, glands and nervous system, keeping us in radiant health. By releasing physical and mental tension they liberate vast resources of energy giving us vigour and vitality.  With regular practice the poses consciously become an exercise in concentration and meditation, and lead to a calmer mind and reduction in stress.

1. Headstand (Sirsasana)

Known as the ‘king of the asanas’ for its remarkable benefits, the posture improves circulation, strengthens the respiratory system and heart, increases memory, concentration and intellectual capacity and promotes relaxation. The brain, spinal cord and sympathetic nervous system are vitalised and the senses sharpened. The pituitary and pineal glands are stimulated, revitalising the entire mind and body. The inversion relieves varicose veins and constipation, counteracts nervous disorders and anxiety, improves the quality of sleep and increases confidence.

2. Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)

Sarvangasana, meaning ‘all parts’ strengthens the entire body. The posture stimulates the thyroid gland regulating metabolism, protein synthesis, heart rate, blood pressure and calcium levels. The blood is purified and circulation improved, and the posture aids in the prevention of kidney disease, bone disease and muscle weakness. Varicose veins and constipation are relieved and mental sluggishness, depression and insomnia removed.

3. Plough (Halasana)