The 26 Bikram Hot Yoga Postures
Standing deep breathing: Pranayama (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: Deep breathing is one of the most important aspects of yoga. This yoga pose will:
– bring fresh, oxygenated blood to every cell of your body
– help to relax your mind
– prevent sleep disorders, anxiety and irritability.
Half moon pose: Ardha-Chandrasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: The spine is actually capable of bending backwards just as much as forwards. This yoga pose will:
– invigorate your entire nervous system
– improve strength in your abdominal muscles, spine and sciatic nerves
– release frozen shoulders and your spine
– help recover slipped or ruptured discs
– strengthen the biceps of your thighs and calves
– stretch your hamstrings
– firm and trim your waistline.
Awkward pose: Utkatasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This is a strength posture that works and firms all the muscles in your thighs, calves, hips and upper arms. It also helps to:
– increase blood circulation in your knees and ankle joints
– relieve rheumatism, arthritis and gout in the legs
– cure slipped discs and lumbago in the spine.
Eagle pose: Garurasana (Sanskit)
Why we do it: It works all 14 major joints in your body by creating pressure and then releasing it. This allows fresh blood supply to flow. It’s also known as the ‘fertility’ posture, because it massages your reproductive organs.
Standing head to knee: Dandayamana – Janushirasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This posture develops concentration, patience, and determination. It also:
– strengthens your abdominal and thigh muscles
– improves flexibility of the sciatic nerves
– strengthens your tendons, biceps of the thigh muscles, and hamstrings in your legs.
Standing bow pose: Dandayamana – Dhanurasana
Why we do it: It increases your circulation to the heart and lungs. It also:
– boosts the elasticity of the spine
– helps to balance out your body energies
– regulates menstrual cycles
– helps with lower back pain.
Balancing stick: Tuladandasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To firm hips, buttocks, and upper thighs. It improves your flexibility, strength and muscle tone in your shoulders, upper arms, spine and hip joints. It also:
– improves circulation
– strengthens your heart muscle
– clears blockages of the arteries
– stretches the capacity of your lungs.
Standing separate leg stretching pose: Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada – paschimotthanasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: It helps relieve depression and memory loss. It also:
– increases circulation to your brain and adrenal glands
– opens your hamstrings
– lengthens your spine
– relieves constipation.
Triangle pose: Trikanasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This posture is a marriage between the heart and the lungs which changes chemical imbalances in the system. It works 100% of your body; muscles, joints, nerves and tissues. It also:
– strengthens your quads, calves and hamstrings
– eases hip and back pain
– helps to regulate your menstrual cycle.
Standing separate leg head to knee pose: Dandayamana-bibhaktapada-janushirasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: It helps to maintain your blood sugar levels and causes compression of the pancreas and kidney which acts as a cleanser. It also:
– creates a marriage between your pineal and thyroid glands
– benefits your muscular, skeletal, endocrine, digestive and reproductive systems
– alleviates depression and anxiety
– helps with colds, sinus problems, and migraines.
Tree pose: Tadasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This pose facilitates hip and knee mobility and is excellent for posture and balance. It also helps with rheumatism and circulatory disorders.
Toe stand: Padangustasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To challenge your mental concentration and create balance within your body and mind. This pose strengthens stomach muscles and helps to avoid gout and arthritis of the knee and legs.
Dead body pose: Savasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To return your cardiovascular circulation to normal. This pose slows your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, teaches complete relaxation and stillness.
Wind-removing pose: Pavanamuktasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it:It massages your colon and can help to prevent constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. It also:
– helps to normalise your production of stomach acid
– stimulates the liver, intestines and spleen
– improves flexibility in your hip joints
– relieves lower back pain.
Sit up: Pada-hasthasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To strengthen and tighten the abdomen. Open mouth exhalation also stimulates your diaphragm and eliminates toxins from lungs.
Cobra pose: Bhujangasan (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To concentrate on strengthening the lower spine. This pose also:
– helps to prevent osteoporosis
– relieves pain in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and the coccyx.
Locust pose: Salabhasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To strengthen and lengthen the upper one-third of the spine. The isometric pressure promotes muscle power to and all over the spine and balances strength on both sides of the body.
Full locust pose:Poorna-salabhasana Sanskrit)
Why we do it: It works the middle one-third of the spine. It also helps with high blood pressure and back extension.
Bow pose: Dhanurasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This pose works the entire spine. It also:
– helps with back pain and scoliosis
– holds vertebrae in position
– strengthens your quads and inner thigh muscles
– opens your shoulders, neck and throat centres.
Fixed firm pose: Supta-vajrasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To stretch and strengthens the psoas muscle. This posture also:
– stretches knee and ankle joints
– relieves lower back pain
– slims your thighs
– firms your abdomen and calves
– helps cure sciatica, gout and varicose veins
– helps to prevent hernias.
Half tortoise pose: Ardha-Kurmasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: To stretch and lengthen your shoulder and lat muscles. It also:
– lengthens your entire spine
– provides maximum relaxation
– cures indigestion, constipation, and insomnia
– helps emphysema, asthma, and other respiratory ailments
– increases blood flow to the brain, bringing mental clarity and better memory.
Camel pose: Ustrasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: It opens the chest and strengthens muscles of the back and shoulders. It also:
– improves flexibility in your neck and spine
– produces maximum compression of the spine
– stimulates your entire nervous system
– opens your heart chakra, which can often lead to an emotional release.
Rabbit pose: Sasangasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This is a counter posture to the camel and it:
– stretches and lengthens your lower spine
– helps to maintain mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles
– nurtures the nervous system by allowing blood to flow to the brain.
Head to knee pose and stretching pose: Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: It boosts circulation of blood to your legs and brain. It also:
– increases flexibility of the spine and ham strings
– increases flexibility of the shoulder muscles, hip joint, and the last five vertebrae of the spine
– stretches your sciatic nerve and improves its flexibility
– increases circulation to the liver, spleen, pancreas, thyroid, thymus and intestines
– improves flexibility in your ankles, knees and hip joints
– improves digestion
– enhances the proper functioning of your kidneys
– expands the solar plexus.
Spine-twisting pose: Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: This is the only posture that twists the spine from top to bottom, which:
– increases circulation to all the spinal nerves, veins, and tissues
– improves the elasticity of the spine
– relieves lower back pain
– helps prevent slipped discs, rheumatism of the spine, kyphosis, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis and arthritis
– calms the nervous system.
Blowing in firm pose: Kapalbhati in vajrasana (Sanskrit)
Why we do it: It improves digestion and circulation, and also:
– increases the elasticity of the lungs with every forceful exhale
– generates prana
– pushes out every ounce of carbon dioxide, replacing it with life-giving oxygen
– strengthens your abdominal organs and increases circulation to them
– stimulates your digestive system.