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Pre-pranayama asana practice

To help prepare your body and mind for pranayama

Contents

Introduction

This sequence was created by popular demand. It can be viewed as a general guideline for your pre-pranayama asana practice. It is suitable for all levels and can be altered and supplemented to suit your specific needs.

Guruji talked about the importance of practising such inversions as Salamba Sirsasana and Salamba Sarvangasana before settling down for pranayama since these poses help make the neck muscles soft and open up the diaphragm, which can make breathing more effortless. So, if you feel like your level allows for such poses, feel free to incorporate them into this sequence. Otherwise, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is a good alternative if you are unfamiliar with the full inversions, or certain limitations stand in your way of performing them.

Since this sequence is aimed at preparing your mind and body for meditation, you should make sure that all the actions are as soft and mellow as possible. It is recommended to use props and supports to modify and simplify certain poses. Remember: the key goal is to create a smooth transition between your everyday state and the state of deep relaxation in pranayama.

View sequence

Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Urdhva Hastasana
Upward Salute
Keep your shoulders open and stretching away from your ears as you externally rotate your arms and lift them up above your head. Resist the urge to tip backwards, maintain the Tadasana line.
Urdhva Baddanguliyasana
Upward Salute with Interlocked Fingers
Stretch your arms in front of you and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms inside out and lift your arms up overhead, making sure to keep your shoulders open. Change the interlock of your fingers and repeat.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virabhadrasana II
Warrior II Pose
1
Angle your back foot in and straighten out the leg. Bend your front knee into a lunge, pointing it forward so that it's aligned with your hips, shin, and toes. Stretch your arms out in a parallel line. Lengthen through the crown of your head.
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Extended Side Angle Pose
Bend your front leg and place your hand by of your foot as you stretch your other arm up and over your head. Pull your waist away from the floor, keep your back straight. Place a block under your hand if necessary.
Utthita Trikonasana
Extended Triangle Pose
Keep the toes and kneecap of your left leg pointed forward and, keeping your spine straight and long, stretch over your leg. Place your left hand on your ankle or on a block next to your foot. Look up towards your extended right arm.
Parsvottanasana
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Upavistha Konasana
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Use support under buttocks if your inner groins roll backward. Kneecaps and all ten toes face the ceiling. Keep your hands by your by hips, fingers pointing forwards. Lengthen your spine. Once you have mastered these foundations, you can also bend forward while reaching your feet with your hands. Use a belt if necessary.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Pre-pranayama asana practice
Perfect Pose
Start in a seated position. Bend the left leg at the knee and press the sole of the foot to the thigh. Bend the right leg and place the foot over the left ankle. The heel of the right foot is pressed against the pubic bone. Your hands rest on your knees. Change sides and repeat.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Shoulder Supported Bridge
Start by lying down. Press your shoulders into the floor, using them as leverage to lift your hips up to capacity. Use your hands to support your back and allow yourself to go into a deeper stretch. You can also place a block below your lumbar spine for support.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.