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Top Yoga Poses to Balance Body and Mind

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Sirsha-asana/The Head-stand

The head-stand (sirsha-asana) together with the lotus posture (padma-asanaor) is one of the most recognised yoga poses and it is widely identified with its practice.

The head-stand produces numerous physical and mental benefits making it worth all its notoriety. The benefits are mainly derived from the body inverted position. It stimulates the 4 most important endocrine glands generating beneficial effects on the whole body. It also helps to alleviate fatigue, sleeplessness, fear, dullness and anxiety.  This is an advanced yoga posture and should only be attempted after mastering more basic positions.

These are the different stages to follow to practice the head-stand.

1.  Sit on your knees with your buttocks resting on your feet.

2.  Lean forward and keep your elbows at shoulder distance. Place the forearms on the floor. Interlock the fingers of both hands.

3.  Place the top of your head flat on the floor while pressing the back of your head against the inside of your interlocked hands.

4.  Press the tips of your toes against the floor and the lift the heels while raising the knees off the floor.

5 Hold the position until you can hold the inhaled breath. When you can no longer do so slowly exhale and return to the floor.

Nataraja-asana/King of the Dance

Nataraja is a composed Sanskrit word which means King (raja) and dancer (nata). It is also another name for the Lord of the Dance, Shiva who creates and destructs the universe with its cosmic dance.  This is a deeply symbolic but fairly accessible posture that can help you with your balance while stretching your muscles.  Try to enter it with a sense of power and grace and get the most benefits from it in the morning.

You should start by holding the position for a minute and gradually increase it once you get more comfortable with the posture. Try to repeat it three times per side alternating the right and the left.

Follow these 5 steps:

1.  Stand straight on both your feet with your arms by your side.

2.  Inhale, bend your right leg backward. Grab your left foot with your left hand and extend your right arm straight in front of you.  Keep straightening it until you reach a 45 degrees angle with the floor.

3.  Lift your left leg with your left arm as high as possible.

4.  Hold the position for a minute while gently breathing and keeping your gaze fixed just above the horizon.

5.  Repeat three times per leg.