Benefits: Tree pose is great for improving balance, strengthening thighs, ankles, calves and the spine. It stretches the groins and inner thighs, shoulders and chest. It can also relieve sciatica and reduce flat feet.
How to do it: Begin by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Shift your weight slightly onto the left foot, keep the right foot firmly on the floor and bend your right knee. Use your right hand and clasp your right ankle. If you lose your balance don’t worry, try again.
Draw your right foot up and place the sole against the inner left thigh, if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor. Make sure the pelvis is in a neutral position. Lengthen your tailbone. Breathe. Firmly press the right foot sole against the inner thigh and resist with the outer left leg. Press your hands together in Anjali Mudra. Gaze softly at a fixed point in front of you to help with your balance.
Stay in tree pose for thirty seconds and work towards holding it for one minute. Step back to Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with an exhalation and repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed.
Yoga Vocabularly: Anjali Mudra is a hand gesture which is practiced in yoga. It is used as a sign of respect and a greeting in India, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. The gesture is incorporated into many yoga asanas. The meaning of Anjali Mudra is Salutation Seal. It has the same meaning as the Sankrit phrase Namaste.
Benefits: Padmasana is a great pose for stimulating the pelvis, abdomen, bladder and spine. It has the ability to calm the brain, stretch the knees and ankles and can ease sciatica and menstrual discomfort. Consistent practice during pregnancy can also ease childbirth and some traditional texts say that doing Lotus Pose can destroy all disease and awaken kundalini (a shakti energy found in the base of the spine).
How to do it: Lotus pose can be quite difficult for beginners, don’t worry about looking like the picture, just do what you’re comfortable with. Start by sitting on your mat with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring the lower left up into a cradle. The outer edge of the foot is notched into the crook of the left elbow, the knee is wedged into the crook of the right elbow, and the hands are clasped (if possible) outside the shin. Lift the front torso toward the inner right leg so the spine lengthens (and the lower back does not round). Rock your leg back and forth a few times, exploring the full range of movement of the hip joint. Don’t push yourself too much, if you have hip pain then don’t go any further.
Next, bend the left knee and turn the leg out. Rock your right leg far out to the right, then lock the knee tight by pressing the back of the thigh to the calf. Next swing the leg across in front of your torso, swiveling from the hip and not the knee, and nestle the outside edge of the foot into the inner left groin. Make sure you bring the right knee as close to the left as possible, and press the right heel into the left lower belly.
Now lean back slightly, pick the right leg up off the floor, and lift the left leg in front of the right. To do this hold the underside of the left shin in your hands. Carefully slide the left leg over the right, snuggling the edge of the left foot deep into the right groin. Again swivel into position from the hip joint, pressing the heel against the lower belly, and arrange the sole perpendicular to the floor. Draw the knees as close together as possible. Use the edges of the feet to press the groins toward the floor and lift through the top of the sternum. If you wish, you can place the hands palms up in jnana mudra, with the thumbs and first fingers touching.