Regular Yoga practice promotes both mental and physical wellbeing. With this aim in mind, each Asana was designed to stimulate, exercise and massage specific areas of the body. A balanced programme of Asanas reconditions the whole body, working on every muscle, nerve and organ. The basic and advanced Asanas listed here are some of theexercises of Hatha Yoga practice.
• The Mountain (Tadasana) is the first Asana, and is often used as a starting point for other Asanas; it aids peace and concentration and develops a sense of balance and alignment.
• The Tree (Vrksasana) develops the powers of concentration and sense of balance; it also strengthens the ankles and the muscles in the legs, back and chest.
• The Triangle (Trikonasana) stretches the spine laterally and helps proper functioning of the digestive system; regular practice results in a trimmer waistline and toned leg muscles.
• The Reverse Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana) lengthens and twists the sides, stretching the spine laterally and promotingin the chest and ; it also develops the sense of balance.
• The Lotus (Padmasana) is the classic pose for meditation and Pranayama; it clears the mind, enhances concentration and increases flexibility in the hips, knees and ankles.
• The Warriors I and II (Virabhadrasana) strengthen and tone the legs and hips, and firm the muscles of the back, chest and arms; they also promote improvements in balance and concentration.
• The Bow (Dhanurasana) strengthens the abdominal muscles, expands the chest, increases the elasticity of the spine and stimulates the internal organs; it also promotes the circulation.
• The Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) was named after Matsyendra, one of the first teachers of Hatha Yoga; it encourages flexibility in the spine and stimulates the internal organs.
• The Camel (Ultrasana) improves flexibility in the back and shoulders, strengthens the thighs and tones the waist and; it can also help to correct rounded shoulders.
• The Cobra (Bhujangasana) flexes and strengthens the spine and stretches the muscles in the legs, abdomen and jaw; it also benefits the digestive system and can relieve constipation.
• The Plough (Halasana) promotes suppleness in the spine and stretches the whole body; the compression of the abdomen massages the internal organs, aiding digestion and bowel action.
• The Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) is called the Queen or Mother of Asanas because it soothes the entire body; it strengthens the spine and promotes circulation, preventing or relieving varicose veins. It also has a beneficial effect on the thyroid and parathyroid glands and calms the nervous system.