Hatha Yoga Postures and their Benefits

A regular yoga practice can be very beneficial, physically and psychologically. Practicing Hatha Yoga provides multiple benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Increased muscle tone and stamina, Increased metabolism and fat burning
  • Improved lung capacity and circulation for better cardiovascular health
  • Better posture, decreased muscle tension
  • Increased flexibility and lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
  • Better balance (which along with flexibility can help prevent injury)
  • Better sleeping patterns, Increased sense of vitality
  • Increased focus and concentration, decreased anxiety and depression

Below you will find each posture and its individual associated benefit:

 Pranayama (Standing Deep Breathing )

• Good for lungs and respiratory system       Pranayama breathing
• Helps with mental relaxation
• Helps high blood pressure
• Relieves irritability
• Good for detoxification
• Exercises nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems

 Ardha Chandrasana with Pada Hastasana (Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose)

Half Moon Pose• Works the whole skeletal and circulatory system
• Reduces or eliminates pain in the lower back, help with sciatic nerve pain
• Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body Increase the flexibility of the spine
• Tones the spinal nerves and abdominal organs inproving the working of the bowels
• Increases flexibility and strength of rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus, oblique, deltoid and trapezius muscles
• Alleviates anxiety and reduces mental stress
• Stimulates pituitary gland
• Exercises colon, pancreas, kidneys, muscular, skeletal, respiratory and glandular systems
• Firms and trims waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks and thighs

 Utkatasana  (Awkward Pose)

• Improves overall body strength
• Opens pelvis
• Strengthens and tones leg muscles
Akward Pose• Relieves menstrual cramping
• Reduces fat pocket under buttocks
• Aligns skeletal system
• Good for arthritis conditions
• Good for digestion
• Relieves joint pain
• Relieves sciatica
• Improves flexibility in toes and ankles
• Exercises liver, intestines, and pancreas

Garurasana (Eagle pose)

• Works into twelve major joints of the body
• Good for central nervous system
• Facilitates lymphatic function, improving immune system
• Improves mobility of hip joint
• Improves balance
• Strengthens legs
• Good for varicose veins

 Dandayamana Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose)

Standing Head to Knee• Builds mental strength
• Improves concentration
• Unifies mind and body
• Uses all major muscle groups
• Exercises digestive and reproductive organs
• Good for diabetes
• Strengthens back muscles

 Dandayamana Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose)

Standing Bow Pulling Pose• Stimulates cardiovascular system
• Increases circulation to heart and lungs
• Opens diaphragm
• Opens shoulder joint
• Helps frozen shoulder conditions
• Improves spine elasticity
• Improves strength and balance
• Reduces abdominal fat
• Helps regulate ovaries and prostate gland

 Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)

Balancing Stick pose• Increases cardiovascular circulation, especially to heart blood vessels
• May help clear blocked arteries
• May help prevent future cardiac problems
• Creates a total spine stretch Relieves stress from spine
• Good for varicose veins
• Builds strength in legs
• Exercises pancreas, spleen, liver, nervous and circulatory system

 Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose)

standing separate leg stretching pose• Increases circulation to the brain and adrenal glands
• Centers nervous system
• May be good for depression
• Good for constipation
• Helps reduce abdominal obesity
• Helps with diabetes and hyper acidity
• Releases lower back
• Exercises muscular, adrenal and reproductive systems

 Trikanasana (Triangle pose)

triangle pose• An excellent cardiovascular workout
• Intensely stretches each side of the body
• Opens and increases flexibility of hip joints
• Good for kidneys, thyroid and adrenal glands
• Opens shoulder joint, good for frozen shoulder
• Strengthen and tones legs and buttocks
• Helps regulate hormone levels
• Works all muscular groups simultaneously
• Helps conditions of constipation, colitis, low blood pressure, appendicitis, spondylitis, menstrual disorders

 Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose)

standing separate leg head to knee pose• May be good for depression and memory loss
• Reduces abdominal obesity
• Good for diabetic conditions
• Balances blood sugar levels
• Assists in regulating pancreas and kidneys
• Works endocrine, digestive and reproductive systems

 Tadasana (Tree pose)

tree pose• Assists in correcting bad posture
• Increases hip and knee flexibility and mobility
• Stretches spine
• Releases abdominal tension
• Relieves lower back pain
• Tightens gluteal muscles
• Good for circulatory problems, arthritis and rheumatism

 Padangustasana (Toe Stand )

toe stand• Creates balance and focus in body and mind
• Strengthens stomach muscles
• Strengthens joints (hips, knees, ankles and toes)
• Helps relieve arthritis in all leg joints including hips

 Savasana (Corpse Pose)

savasana _ dead body pose

• Returns cardiovascular circulation to normal
• Slows heart rate, reduces blood pressure
• Teaches complete relaxation
• Stills and focuses the mind

Pavanamuktasana (Wind Removing Pose)

cobra pose• Massages ascending, descending and transverse colon
• Regulates and normalises hydrochloric acid levels in stomach
• Improves and may cure conditions of constipation, flatulence and hyperacidity
• Relieves lower back pain
• Improves flexibility of the hip joints
• Firms and tones muscles of the abdominal wall, thighs and hips
• Increases peristalsis in the gut

 Sit-up (Sit-up)

• Strengthens and tightens the abdomen
• Open mouth exhalation stimulates diaphragm and eliminates toxins from lungs

 Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

cobra pose• The arching of the spine increases flexibility and strength
• Rejuvenates spinal nerves enriching them with oxygenated blood
• Improves flexibility and tone of spinal muscles, massages, works and tones back muscles
• Helps relieve and prevent lower backache
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems
• Stretches the thoracic region and expands the rib cage bringing relief from asthma
• Gentle pressure on the abdomen massages all organs and improves their function
• Strengthens deltoids, trapezius and triceps
• Compresses and opens spine
• Relieves cervical spondylosis
• Improves concentration
• Helps relieve many utero-ovarine and menstrual issues

Salabhasana (Locust pose)

• Improves sluggish digestion
• Helps regulate intestinal function
• Strengthens the abdominal wall
• Helps correct bad posture
• Improves function of liver and spleen
• Strengthens shoulder, arm and back muscles
locust pose• Compresses and opens spine
• Relieves cervical spondylitis and back pain
• Encourages concentration and perseverance
• Same benefits as Cobra pose and even more effective in helping conditions of slipped disc and sciatica
• Firms buttocks and hips
• Increases spinal strength, flexibility and circulation
• Improves flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
• Helps relieve and prevent backache
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems

Poorna Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)

• Firms muscles of the abdomen, upper arms, hips and thighs
• Increases spinal strength and flexibility
• Improves flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
• Helps full locust poserelieve and prevent lower backache
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems Helps cure loss of appetite
• Helps correct bad posture
• Improves function of liver and spleen
• Strengthens deltoids, trapezius and triceps
• Compresses and opens spine
• Relieves cervical spondylosis

 Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

• Increases circulation to heart & lungs, improves oxygen intake
• Opens diaphragm and expands the chest region – improves respiratory conditions
• Opens shoulder joint and helps frozen shoulder conditions
• Increases spinal strength and flexibility and tone of spinal muscles
• Revitalises spinal nerves by increasing circulation to spine
• Strengthens, compresses and opens lower, mid and upper spine
• Improves strength and balance Reduces abdominal fat and strengthens abdominal muscles
• Helps regulate ovaries and prostate gland
• Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems
• Improves digestion
• Helps correct bad posture
• Strengthens concentration and mental determination
• Develops internal balance and harmony
• Improves function of kidneys, liver and spleen
• Strengthens deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi and triceps
• Relieves cervical spondylosis

Supta Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose)

• Helps conditions of sciatica, gout, varicose veins and rheumatism in the legs
• Slims and tones thighs, firms calf muscles and strengthens the abdomen
• Strengthens and improves flexibility of lower spine, knees and ankle joints
• Lubricates and increases circulation to joints
• Strengthens and lengthens abdominal muscles
• Creates a great stretch into hip joints and diaphragm
• Relieves lower back pain

 Ardha Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose)

• A rejuvenation pose providing maximum relaxation
• Assists in relieving digestion problems and constipation
• Stretches lower part of the lungs, increases lung capacity
• Excellent for respiratory conditions
• Increases circulation to the brain
• Firms the abdomen and thighs
• Increases flexibility of hip joints
• Improves mobility of shoulder girdle and associated muscles (scapula, deltoids, triceps, latissimus dorsi)
• Relieves stress and migraines
• Helps with insomnia
• Increases flexibility in hips

 Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

• Compresses spine, relieving back problems
• Opens rib cage, lungs and digestive system
• Stimulates nervous system
• Great for lungs and many bronchial problems
• Strengthens back and shoulder muscles
• Improves flexion of neck
• Stretches throat
• Flushes fresh blood through kidneys
• Helps eliminate toxins

 Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

• Provides maximum longitudinal extension of the spine
• Stretches the spine to increase proper nutrition to the nervous system
• Improves the mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles
• Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid glands through compression, helps balance and regulate metabolism
• Balances hormones
• Improves flexibility of scapula and trapezius
• Improves digestion, glandular problems and helps improve conditions of the sinus, common cold and chronic tonsillitis
• Helps insomnia, depression

 Janushirasana with Paschimottanasana (Head to Knee Pose with Stretching Posture)

• Helps balance blood sugar levels and the metabolism
• Improves flexibility of sciatic nerve and ankle, knee and hip joints
• Enhances kidney function
• The intense stretching pose increases circulation to liver, spleen and pancreas
• Stimulates thymus gland, digestion and immune system
• Increases flexibility of the trapezius, deltoid, erectus femoris and biceps muscles, sciatic nerve and last five vertebrae of the spine

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spine Twisting Pose)

• Compresses and stretches spine from the bottom to the top
• Increases hip and back flexibility
• Improves digestion
• Firms the buttocks, thighs and abdomen
• Improves elasticity, flexibility, circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, vessels and tissues
• Increases synovial fluid of the joints
• Removes adhesions in the joints caused by rheumatism
• Tones the roots of the spinal nerves and sympathetic nervous system
• Detoxifying • Opens bronchial muscles and rib cage
• Helps prevent slipped disc
• Relieves lower back pain
• Helps sciatica and arthritis of the knee
• Massages kidneys, liver, gall bladder, spleen and bowels

Kapalbhati in Vajrasana (Blowing in Firm Pose)

• Provides maximum longitudinal extension of the spine
• Stretches the spine to increase proper nutrition to the nervous system
• Improves the mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles
• Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid glands through compression, helps balance and regulate metabolism
• Balances hormones
• Improves flexibility of scapula and trapezius
• Improves digestion, glandular problems and helps improve conditions of the sinus, common cold and chronic tonsillitis
• Helps insomnia, depression

 

Health Benefits of Hot Yoga

There have been many studies on Bikram yoga and yoga in general that validate the health benefits of a regular practic. Click the links below to open .pdf articles to learn more in-depth information.

5 Year Bone Loss Study

Bikram Yoga Practice in Females by Scientific Research


Effectiveness of 8 weeks Bikram Yoga and Stress

Department of Kinesiology, Boise State University, Idaho


Hot Yoga and Aging

Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The
University of Texas at Austin, TX


Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School


Effects of Hot Yoga on Health

The Effects of Bikram Yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations


Physiological Characteristics of Long-Term Bikram
Yoga Practitioners

Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline


Hot Yoga and Arterial Health

The Effect of Bikram Yoga on Arterial Stiffness
in Young and Older Adults


Psychophysiologic Effects of Hatha Yoga on Musculoskeletal and Cardiopulmonary Function

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine


Is Therapeutic Hatha Yoga a Cure for Diabetes?

Julian Goldstein, B.S., M.S., CYT, and member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists


Hatha Yoga and PTSD

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: Principles, Practice, and Research. Trauma Center at Justice Resource Center, Brookline, MA


Unmasking Anger

Article: Yoga Journal, March/April 2002 by Contributing Editor Alan Reder


Freedom from Addiction

Article: Yoga Journal, May/June 2002, Stacie Stukin


The Body Keeps the Score

Memory and the evolving psychobiology of post traumatic stress
by Bessel van der Kolk