Photo by Yumi Soule 2002
Texts by Jean-Philippe Soule 
with the participation of
Swami Shiva Nand Jee

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Yoga for Beginners
by Swami Shiva Nand Jee

In the West, the asanas, or yogi posture exercise are commonly referred to as yoga, but yoga entails more than just stretches, balance and power exercises. This page illustrates the Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation and the twelve first asanas, providing the base for more complex asanas.

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  • Surya Namaskar: (Sun Salutation includes 12 positions)

  • Asanas:

    1. Tadasana (Equal Standing):
      Teaches balance and concentration. Relaxes tensions in the neck, shoulders and head.

    2. Parivrtta Trikonasana:
      Open the hip joints, strengthens and improves leg alignement, improves knee alignment, deepens breathing.

    3. Samakonasana:
      Simulates perineal gland (brain) control and helps in mind relaxation. Improves Mula Bandha. It also opens hip joints, releases shoulders and neck, and helps to trim weight from the waist.

    4. Utkatasana:
      Strengthens the lower back, improves the Uddiyana Bhanda. Helps to release the Kundalini. Strengthens the legs and stabilizes the knee joints. Releases tension from the shoulders.

    5. Bhujangasana:
      It is the cobra posture. Gives flexibility to the spine, reduces the gap between spinal disks (a common problem leading to back pain). It also helps in replacing misaligned spinal disks into position.

    6. Utta Pad Asana:
      Improves the digestive system, reduces gastric troubles, tone the abdominal muscle. It is the best asana to treat and prevent hernia.

    7. Salabhasana:
      Strengthens and increases flexibility of the lower back and spine. Prevents and help with spinal Spondylitis. It is also good for the prostate gland and urinary bladder and helps digestions and relieves gastric troubles.

    8. Pawan Mukt Asana:
      Prevents/cure constipation and gastric problems.

    9. Ustrasana:
      Stretches the full spine and Improves the lumbar region, and prevent/cure spinal Spondylitis (locked neck). This posture can be tried by elderly people.

    10. Paschimottanasana:
      Awakens the Kundalini, deepens breathing, eliminates difficulty in exhalation. Reduces knee and lower back pain, tones abdominal organs, and kidneys, improves digestion and rejuvenate the whole spine.

    11. Padmasana (Lotus Posture):
      Straightens the spine. It increases the ability to practice the three bhandas. It is the favorite posture for Pranayama (Breathing exercises) and Meditation.

    12. Savasana:
      A lie down position that removes fatigue, releases muscular and psychological tension.