Category Archives: Yoga Practices

Padmasana – The Lotus Pose for Meditation

PADMASANA - Lotus Pose

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 – Yogic Method to Clean the Stomach

Vastra Dhauti - Shatkarma

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 Pranayama – The Psychic Breath

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

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.

Jnana Mudra – The Gesture of Wisdom

Jnana Mudra

Jnana Mudra or Gyan Mudra is the most common yogic mudra used in meditation. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Jnana’ means knowledge or wisdom and ‘mudra’ means sign or gesture. It literally means the psychic gesture of Knowledge or wisdom.

Surya Bheda Pranayama – The Vitalizing Breath

Surya Bheda Pranayama or Surya Bhedana Pranayama is one of the main pranayamas practiced with Kumbhaka. Surya means the sun. In Surya Bheda Pranayama the Surya Nadi or the right nostril channel is activated. Surya Bheda Pranayama is mentioned in the yoga texts Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and the Gheranda Samhita.

Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya – Cleaning the Stomach

Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya is meant for purification of the upper digestive tract. Dhauti is one of the six purification methods or Shatkarma of Hatha Yoga. There are various types of Dhauti – for cleaning the mouth, teeth, ears, stomach and intestines.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing

Anulom Vilom Pranayama or alternate nostril breathing exercise is one of the main practices of Pranayama. Anulom Vilom Pranayama is mentioned in the yogic texts Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Gheranda Samhita, Tirumandiram, Siva Samhita, Puranas and in the Upanishads.

Bhastrika Pranayama – The Bellow’s Breath

Bhastrika Pranayama is one of the main forms of Pranayama. In Sanskrit, Bhastrika means the ‘bellows ’. Just as the blacksmith blows his bellows to create heat and purify iron, Bhastrika is said to purify the mind and clear pranic blocks.

Kapalbhati Pranayama – The Skull Shining Breathing Excercise

Kapalbhati (or Kapalabhati) is one of the six Shatkarmas or methods of internal purification in Hatha Yoga. In Sanskrit, Kapal means the skull and Bhati means to shine or illuminate. Kapalbhati cleans the cranial sinuses and hence the name.