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.

Sarvangasana – The Shoulder Stand Pose

Sarvangasana - Shoulder Stand

Sarvangasana or the shoulder stand pose comes from the Sanskrit words – ‘Sarva’ which means ‘all’ and ‘Anga’ which means ‘part’. Sarvangasana involves all parts of the body as the name suggests. Sarvangasana is one of the main inverted asanas which gives plenty of health benefits. Sarvangasana has become part of most yoga routine.

Trataka – Yoga to Develop Power of Concentration

Trataka

Trataka is a Hatha Yoga method to develop concentration. Trataka is a simple, yet powerful practice and is one of the six purification methods or Shatkarmas, taught in Hatha Yoga. The technique has to do with gazing or fixing the eyes on one point, either on an object or on a candle flame.

Niyama – Self Discipline in Yoga

Niyama in Yoga Sutras is the second step in Ashtanga Yoga, the eight fold limbs of Yoga. ‘Niyama’ deals mostly with our internal self-discipline rather than external ethical behavior. Yoga tradition has given much importance to development of a balanced personality before taking up higher practices of yoga. 

Paschimottanasana – The Forward Bend Yogic Pose

Paschimottanasana - Forward bend Pose

Paschimottanasana or the seated forward bend pose gives a complete stretch to the back muscles. In Sanskrit ‘Paschima’  means ‘west’ or ‘back’ and ‘uttana’ means ‘stretch’ or ‘extended’. Paschimottanasana gives an intense stretch to all the back muscles.