Sivananda yoga takes a holistic approach to yoga practice to harmonize and strengthen the mind, body and soul. The goal of Sivananda yoga is to remove inner obstacles to create inner peace, a healthy body and a content and balanced mind. Through poses, Sivananda yoga gives practitioners the strength to stay calm and at peace throughout everyday situations. Your goals help define which poses are the best for you.
Poses for Circulation
Every Sivananda practice begins with the Headstand. This pose, sometimes referred to as the "king of all poses," has many health benefits and counteracts the sitting and standing that most people do all day. By balancing on your head and hands, the pose improves circulation and supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain. The pose counteracts the sitting and standing that most people do all day. The Shoulder Stand follows the Headstand. In Sanskrit, the name of this pose means “whole.” The reason this pose is one of the best in Sivananada yoga is because it strengthens the whole body while directing circulation to the thyroid gland.
Poses for the Back and Spine
The Forward Bend pose is simple but powerful. The pose reduces the spinal compression that is caused by standing, keeps the back muscles loose and supple, increases joint mobility, stimulates the nervous system and tones the internal organs. The Plough pose stretches the entire spine while also targeting the shoulders. This pose calms the brain, reduces fatigue and stress and stimulates the thyroid gland and abdominal organs, which makes it one of the best.
Poses for the Lower Body
The Locust pose, done with the body lying face-down on the floor with the legs outstretched, targets the buttocks, lower back, calves and hamstrings. Through the pose, the thighs are stretched, the muscles of the lower legs and back are strengthened and the abdominal organs are stimulated. The Standing Forward Bend pose is one of the best for strengthening the legs and increasing flexibility in the lower body, including the hips. The pose also stretches the joints and spine and encourages healthy blood flow to the brain.
Pose for the Upper Body
The Crow, or Crane, pose is one of the best for targeting the wrists and forearms. From a crouching position, the legs are lifted from the floor, placing weight on the upper arms and torso. The pose strengthens the upper body, abdominal muscles, tones abdominal organs and opens the groin.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.