Yoga asanas, or poses, are the heart of every yoga practice. Each pose creates specific mental and physical benefits, from increasing flexibility and strength to relieving pain, calming anxiety, aligning the chakras and more. Focusing on your breathing and form will release these benefits as you move from pose to pose.
Yoga Asanas for Anxiety
Yoga asanas for anxiety balance the body's chakras, or energy centers, resulting in less anxiety, tension and negative energy. The Standing Forward Bend Pose can clear your mind. Stand with your hands on your hips and bend forward slowly while exhaling. As you reach toward the ground, keep your knees straight and bring your palms back toward the ankles. Inhale deeply, letting the head hang freely. Hold the pose for one minute, then guide your hands back to your hips and stand straight with a long torso. Next, lie on your back with your legs straight in front of you for the Fish Pose. Keeping your arms and hands close to your body, inhale and press them against the floor firmly. As you inhale deeper, lift the upper torso from the floor. Exhale slowly while releasing the torso.
Yoga Asanas for Headaches
The Upward Bow Pose relieves headaches by loosening the muscles in the chest that help control the head. Lie on the floor with your legs straight. Bend your knees to bring your feet as close to your bottom as possible, with your feet flat. Place your hands on the floor above your shoulders, elbows bent, fingers facing the shoulders. Press evenly with your feet and hands, lifting your back and hips off of the ground. Keep lifting your body until your body is in a full backbend, or as far as you can without pain. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, then slowly return to your starting position. Other asanas for headache relief include the Camel Pose, Wheel Pose and Bridge Pose.
Yoga Asanas for Back Pain
The Camel Pose is especially helpful for stretching the back muscles and relieving tension. Kneel on the floor and sit up straight while firmly pressing your feet and shins into the floor. Next, lean back slowly, arching your back toward the feet. Reach back with your hands until you touch your feet, keeping the arms straight. Hold this position for one minute, then slowly come back to a straight kneeling position as you exhale. Stay in the kneeling position for the next pose, Bharadvaja's Twist. Exhale slowly as you twist your torso to the left. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the right side.
Yoga Asanas for Asthma
The Cobra Pose opens the lungs for easier breathing. Lie face-down on the floor, stretching your legs out straight behind you. Bend your elbows to bring your hands up near the shoulders, then press into the floor to lift your chest while you inhale. Arch your back as you exhale, holding the legs straight behind you and pushing your chest out. Hold this pose for one minute. Other effective poses for asthma relief include the Cat Pose, Dolphin Plan Pose, Cow Pose and Hero Pose.
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.