Standing Series Bikram Yoga 26 Postures and 2 Breathing Exercises

Bikram’s Beginning Yoga

Bikram Yoga is known as the original Hot Yoga, practiced in a room of 105 degrees and 40% humidity. The classes are 90 minutes long and involves a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises performed in the same sequence every time you enter the hot room. The benefits of Bikram Yoga are many including weight loss, detoxification, increased lung capacity, improved muscle tone, improved sleep patterns, relief from seasonal allergies and injury prevention. We offer a 60 minute express version of this class during the week and quarterly posture workshops to help you better understand the postures and its benefits.

Standing Deep Breathing

(Pranayama)

We begin the class with Standing Deep Breathing to warm up the body from the inside out. People with healthy lungs normally use only about 25% of their lung capacity. By breathing deeply, you will learn to use 100%. This breathing exercise ensures vasodialation of all the blood vessels and hyperoxygenates the bloodstream. Pranayama warms up the neck, shoulders, and upper back for the first posture in the series.

Strengthens

  • Shoulders
  • Deltoids

Stretches

  • Intercostal muscles – ribcage
  • Scapula
  • Shoulder Joints
  • Ocular nerve
Standing Deep Breathing (Pranayama)
Standing Deep Breathing (Pranayama)

Half Moon

(Ardha - Chandrasana)

In Half Moon we begin to warm up the spine. This posture creates traction, length, and stretching down both sides of the body. The benefits from Half Moon are received by maintaining alignment of the hips and shoulders. Half Moon firms and trims the waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs while strengthening all the muscles in the central part of the body. The internal organs are massaged which improves digestion while glands are also stimulated to provide quick energy for the rest of class.

Strengthens

  • Every muscle in the central part of the body
  • Abdomen
  • Back

Stretches

  • Spine
  • Shoulders
Half Moon (Ardha - Chandrasana)
Half Moon (Ardha - Chandrasana)
Half Moon (Ardha - Chandrasana)

Backward Bending

Backward bending helps to improve the alignment of the spine, reducing back pain, lordosis, and kyphosis. The muscles in the trunk, back, hips and legs are strengthened while range of motion in the shoulder and shoulder girdle are improved.

Strengthens

  • Deltoids
  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Obliques
  • Rectus Abominis
  • Trapezius

Stretches

  • Spine
  • Shoulders
  • Hips
Backward Bending

Hands to Feet Pose

(Pada – Hastasana)

Hands to feet pose helps to improve the flexibility of the entire back side of the body, particularly the hips and hamstrings. This helps to lengthen and stretch both the sciatic nerves and the muscles that surround it, reducing pain in the hips, legs, and lower back. Hands to Feet pose creates compression in the abdominal cavity that improves digestive function. By pulling with the biceps to increase flexibility, the spine, hips, and legs are stretched in what Bikram calls a “360-degree stretching angle”.

Strengthens

  • Biceps
  • Deltoids
  • Quadriceps
  • Rectus Abominis
  • Trapezius
  • Calf Muscles

Stretches

  • Hamstrings
  • Spine
  • Sciatic nerve
  • Tendons and ligaments of the legs
  • Shoulders
Hands to Feet Pose (Pada – Hastasana)
Hands to Feet Pose (Pada – Hastasana)

Awkward Pose

(Utkatasana)

In Awkward pose we begin to work all the major muscle groups in the body, particularly the back, abdomen, muscles of the hips, arms, and legs. Awkward pose helps to align the hips and knee joints, reducing symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. It is an excellent remedy for problems with discs at the bottom of the lumbar spine or for lumbago.

Strengthens

  • Abdomen
  • Deltoids
  • Quadriceps
  • Legs
  • Triceps

Stretches

  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Pelvis
  • Shins
  • Toes
Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)
Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)
Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)

Eagle Pose

(Garurasana)

Just as Half Moon pose warmed up the spine and Awkward Pose warmed up all the major muscle groups, in Eagle pose all the major joints are warmed up and lubricated, improving range of motion and flexibility of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. Eagle pose increases circulation to the lower abdomen, particularly the reproductive organs.

Strengthens

  • Legs
  • Rectum
  • Pineal muscles

Stretches

  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Wrists
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
Eagle Pose (Garurasana)
Eagle Pose (Garurasana)
Eagle Pose (Garurasana)

Standing Head-to-Knee Pose

(Dandayamana-Janushirasana)

The Standing Head to Knee Pose is the first pose in the balancing series. This pose helps to build determination, self control, patience, and willpower. Standing Head to Knee strengthens and improves flexibility of the hip and leg muscles. The abdomen, arms, and shoulders are also strengthened while improving flexibility of the back. To make it to the final expression of the posture takes "English Bulldog determination and Bengal Tiger strength"!

Strengthens

  • Abdomen
  • Biceps
  • Latissmus Dorsi
  • Quadriceps
  • Trapezius

Stretches

  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Hamstrings
Standing Head-to-Knee Pose (Dandayamana-Janushirasana)
Standing Head-to-Knee Pose (Dandayamana-Janushirasana)

Standing Bow Pulling Pose

(Dandayamana-Dhanurasana)

Just like Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow Pulling pose builds strength and flexibility all over the body, particularly in the hips and legs. Also like Head to Knee, Standing Bow helps to build patience, determination, focus, and balance. Standing Bow improves flexibility of the spine and alignment of the spinal vertebrae, reducing back pain. This is the only posture during which most of the blood in the body flows from one side to the other and back, a profund circulatory flush.

Strengthens

  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteus Maximus

Stretches

  • Diaphragm
  • Hamstrings
  • LatisimusDorsi
  • Pectorals
  • Ribcage
  • Sartorius
  • Spine
  • Trapezius
Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana-Dhanurasana)
Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana-Dhanurasana)
Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana-Dhanurasana)

Balancing Stick Pose

(Tuladandasana)

Balancing Stick builds strength all over the body; particulary back, legs, arms, and hips. This posture creates a tremendous amount of traction in the spine, decompressing the spinal vertebrae while simultaneously stretching the heart and lungs and massaging the coronary arteries. This pose helps clear out deposits in the arteries, making it excellent for preventing potential heart disease. Balancing Stick is also one of the best exercises for improving poor posture.

Strengthens

  • Ankles
  • Buttocks
  • Deltoids
  • Shoulders
  • Trapezius
  • Abdomen
  • Upper Thighs

Stretches

  • Hip Joints
  • Shoulders
  • Spine
  • Spine (Full stretch of spine)
Balancing Stick Pose (Tuladandasana)
Balancing Stick Pose (Tuladandasana)

Standing Separate-Leg Stretching

(Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotanasana)

One of the deepest forward bends, Standing Separate Leg Stretching, deeply stretches the hamstrings, hip, and back muscles. This creates traction and length in the spine. Because the head is below the heart, this is an inversion pose which increases circulation to the brain, and massages the hypothalamus. This posture is known as the "Yogic fountain of youth".

Strengthens

  • Biceps
  • Trapezius
  • Latissmus Dorsi
  • Deltoids

Stretches

  • Hamstrings
  • Spine
  • Spine (Full stretch of spine)
Standing Separate-Leg Stretching (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotanasana)
Standing Separate-Leg Stretching (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotanasana)
Standing Separate-Leg Stretching (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotanasana)

Triangle Pose

(Trikanasana)

Triangle pose is the most comprehensive pose in the series and is known as the "perfect marriage of heart and lungs" because it increases circulation from the heart to the lungs and vice versa. This posture helps to further oxygenate the bloodstream while removing carbon dioxide from the lungs. Triangle pose increases strength and mobility throughout the body, particularly the hips and torso muscles. The torque on the pelvis and femur bones helps to increase bone density, while the stretching and rotation of the spine strengthens the nervous system and helps with scoliosis.

Strengthens

  • Works all of the major muscle groups at the same time
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Abdomen
  • Back

Stretches

  • Hip Joints
  • Shoulder Joints
Triangle Pose (Trikanasana)
Triangle Pose (Trikanasana)
Triangle Pose (Trikanasana)

Standing Separate-Leg Head to Knee Pose

(Dandayamana – Bibhaktapada – Janushirasana)

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee pose is the best posture in the series for the encocrine system. This posture creates a trremendous amopunt of compression to the liver, pancreas, gall bladder, and spleen while strethcing the kidneys and adrenal glands and massaging the thyroid, parathyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal glands. The compression and release to the organs imrpoves their individual function as well as the function of the endocrine system as a whole.

Strengthens

  • Abdomen
  • Thighs
  • Calf Muscles

Stretches

  • Shoulders
Standing Separate-Leg Head to Knee Pose (Dandayamana – Bibhaktapada – Janushirasana)

Tree Pose & Toe Stand

(Tadasana & Padangustasana)

Tree pose is a great posture for mobility, increasing range of motion in the ankle, knee, and hip joint. Strength is increased in the standing leg while increasing traction in the spine. The repetitive traction throughout the class helps to decompress the spine and improves the function of the spinal column, interveterbral discs, as well as the nervous system.

Toe Stand adds an additional balancing exercise to Tree pose. While maintaining the traction and still working on opening the hips and knees, progressing to Toe Stand helps to build determination, mental focus, snd balance.

Strengthens

  • Abdomen
  • Gluteal Muscles

Stretches

  • Hip Joints
  • Knee Joints
  • Lower Back
  • Spine
  • Groin and inner thighs
Tree Pose (Tadasana)
Toe Stand (Padangustasana)
Toe Stand (Padangustasana)
Toe Stand (Padangustasana)

Dead Body Pose

(Savasana)

Dead Body Pose is where we recover from the postures. Bikram yoga is a form of interval training where the heart rate is increased during the pose and returned to rest and normalize during savasana. It is during savasana where the therapeutic aspects of the postures are incorporated; all of the physical and biochemical changes resulting from the series of positions which were carried out previously. Savasana also teaches complete relaxation and reduces stress and fatigue.

Created By
Bikram Yoga Takoma, Ivy City, Riverdale
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