Yoga Asana Slideshows
These slideshows offer step-by-step demonstrations for exploring each of 108 yoga asanas, from begining to seriously advanced levels. They consist of over 500 photos taken in less than five hours in a single setting. Enjoy!
Sun Salutaitons naturally warm and awaken the entire body, softening the muscles and opening the joints and the neurological and circulatory pathways. They help awaken the breath and the connection of breath and movement within and between asanas. Newer students should start with Classical Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara C). For further details, see Teaching Yoga, pages 158-174 plus pages on each of the twelve asanas in the Sun Salutaitons. Also see Yoga Sequencing, pages 125-139.
Standing with balance and equanimity (Samathihi: “equal standing”) is the foundation for most other asanas. The feet – the base of all standing asanas - must be balanced and sturdy yet supple to support the legs, pelvis, spine, arms and head. Doing standing asanas further warms the body in preparation for all other asanas.
A strong core is also a supple core, not "ripped" or tight. Core strength and awareness is the to finding levity in many other asanas, especially in arm balances. Do core work before arm support asanas and after back bends, not before back bends as this can create tension in the low back.
Arm support asanas take us deeper into ourselves as they require absolute focus. Challenging, they involve fear and ego while bringing about self-confidence and humility. Arm balances require and develop strength (arms, shoulders, core) and flexibility (shoulders, hips). Explore with a sense of playfulness and a sense of humor. Be patient and have fun exploring!
Back bends are heart openers that stretch the chest, lungs, shoulders, abdomen, groins and fronts of the legs while awakening and opening the spine. They move energy throughout the body, giving us energy that kindles loving relationship. Largely stimulating, backbends relieve stress and fatigue, and are good for helping overcome depression. Neautrlaize the spine with simple twists after a back bending sequence. This picture was taken by James Wvinner on the edge of a cliff in the Borrego Badlands.
Seated & Supine Forward Bends, Twists & Hip Openers
Forward bends and hip openers tend to be very calming and are excellt on the path towards Savasana. Twists are neutralizing - stimulating when calm, calming when stimulated. Move with the breath to find a sense of inner invitation for deeper release and exploration.
Inversions turn our body upside down. They also turn our world upside down. They are great for bringing more refined awareness into how we use muscles in supporting our sleketon. Inversions also stimulate the internal organs and the circulatory system while flooding the heart and breain with oxygenated blood and prana. New students should learn inversions with close guidance of a competent teacher.
How we transition to Savasana (Corpse Pose - the Final Rexation Pose) is essential in integrating a practice and maximizing its benefits. Take your time in doing these asanas that will lead you into a deeper, more restful, and more transformational Savasana. One option is to enjoy Savasana with your legs up the wall, a deeply restorative position.