Category Archives: Yoga Practices
Sheetali Pranayama or the cooling breath is usually done after practicing other asanas and pranayamas. Sheetali Pranayama cools the body. Sheetali in sanskrit means ‘cooling’. Sheetali pranayama is mentioned in the yoga texts Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and Gheranda Samhita.
Bhramari Pranayama or the humming Bee Breath produces a sound similar to the humming of a bee. Bhramari comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Bramar’ which means a kind of black Indian bee. Bhramari pranayama has a soothing effect on the brain and calms the mind.
Nasikagra Drishti or Agochari Mudra means “Nose tip gazing”. In Sanskrit, ‘Nasika’ means the nose and ‘agra’ means the end or the tip. ‘Drishti’ means the sight. Thus, Nasikagra Drishti literally means gazing at the tip of the nose. Nasikagra Drishti is a powerful practice to develop concentration and is used in conjunction with many meditation techniques.
Shambhavi Mudra is a highly regarded practice in yogic and tantric texts. Shambhavi is a powerful mudra used during meditation to still the mind and to experience higher stages of consciousness. Shambhavi mudra is mentioned in the yogic text Gheranda Samhita. Shambhavi mudra essentially involves gazing at the eyebrow center.
Simhasana or the Lion Pose resembles a squatting lion in the final pose. In Sanskrit, ‘Simha’ means ‘Lion’ and ‘asana’ means ‘pose’. Simhasana is relatively easy to perform and can be done by all, from any age group.
Padmasana or the Lotus Pose is an important meditative asana and is mentioned in most yogic texts. In Sanskrit, ‘Padma’ means lotus and ‘Asana’ means pose. Padmasana is mentioned in the yogic text Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, as one of the main asanas for meditation that can destroy all diseases.
Vastra Dhauti is one of the six purification techniques of Hatha Yoga called the Shatkarma. Vastra Dhauti is specifically aimed at cleaning the stomach and esophageal tract. In this practice a long strip of moist cotton cloth is swallowed into the stomach.
Ujjayi Prananaya or the psychic breath soothes the mind and induces a meditative state. Ujjayi means to ‘lift up’. In Ujjayi pranayama, the chest is slightly lifted up as if the inhalation is done from the throat.
Ashwini Mudra is done by contracting the anal sphincter muscles in a rhythmic manner. It is observed that horses are adept in doing this. Ashwini Mudra comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Ashwa’ which means a horse and mudra means gesture or sign.