The ABC of Yoga’s Kneeling Poses
All yoga practices incorporate a number of kneeling postures, which are beneficial to the mind and body. These include asanas with different levels of difficulty and should be practiced based on your level of command over the yoga series that you are following. Kneeling postures should be avoided by people suffering from knee pain and injury as these poses place the weight of the body mostly on the knee. Some of the commonly used kneeling asanas include:
Hero or Virasana: This is one the most basic kneeling pose and is normally practiced as a part of the pranayama or meditational part of yoga. It is very helpful in strengthening the thighs, knees and ankles and is a great way of developing strong arches of the feet. In general, hero pose is very effective in relieving constipation and improving other digestive problem, and in particular is very useful in alleviating menopausal symptoms in women. Additionally, pregnancy yoga through the second trimester also incorporates Virasana as it reduces the swelling of the legs in pregnant women.
Camel Pose or Ushtrasana: A powerful pose that is performed towards the end of the yoga session when the muscles of the entire body are in a state of agility. Camel Pose is beneficial in strengthening the spine as well as other back muscles. It also proves to be very therapeutic for respiratory problems, anxiety and fatigue related issues, menstrual cramps and backache. It is very useful in toughening the rectal muscles, so it is commonly suggested to patients suffering from hemorrhoids.
Diamond Pose or Vajrasana: This is a very common and a relatively easy kneeling pose and can be practiced by beginners. It radiates energy and blood supply specifically to the upper part of the body.
Supta Vajrasana: This pose is the advanced form of the Vajrasana and can only be practiced after gaining complete mastery over the Diamond Pose. This asana is very beneficial for curing sciatic pain and also strengthens the thigh and abdominal muscles. It also helps control high blood pressure levels and constipation. Supta Vajrasana is not completely a kneeling pose, in fact it is considered to be a combination of a back bend and a kneeling asana.
Bull Pose or Vrushasana: Performed primarily for preserving youth, this asana is most commonly practiced by men. It stimulates the circulation and strengthens the muscles of the entire body. Bull pose is very helpful in relieving problems related to the male anatomy in particular nocturnal or excessive semen discharge.
Child’s Pose or Balasana: This kneeling pose is very easy to perform and proves to be very relaxing for the yogi. It is normally practiced after backbends to counteract the postures that stretch the spine and back muscles backwards. Balasana gently stretches the hips, knees and ankles and provides a relaxation effect to the entire body as well as the mind by taking the focus away from all external distractions.
Other asanas that require either partial or complete kneeling include Cat Pose, Simple Twist or Bharadvajasana, Dog Pose and the Swan Pose or Hamsasana. As there is a wide range of kneeling posture available, it is easy to select those that suit your yoga program or help relieve health issues that you are practicing yoga for.