Category: Pranayama (Breathing exercises)

Kaliasana: how to do the poses, meaning, benefits, and info on the Goddess of Destruction #kali #kaliasana #goddessofdestruction

Kaliasana: how to do the poses, meaning, benefits, and info on the Goddess of Destruction

Kaliasana: how to do the poses, meaning, benefits, and info on the Goddess of Destruction #kali #kaliasana #goddessofdestructionKaliasana is one of my favorite poses.  It’s so strong and empowering, just like the Goddess of Destruction herself.  I hope you enjoy the pose and the great goddess as much as I do!

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About Kali

Kali is the Hindu goddess of destruction, power, time, and transformation.  She is also sometimes called the Divine Mother.  She has blue or black skin and usually sticks out her tongue.  In 4 of her hands, she carries a trident, a sword, a human head, and a bowl catching the blood dripping from the head.  She is often portrayed dancing on her consort, the God Shiva.  She is a ferocious goddess with a necklace of human heads and a skirt of arms.  This is symbolism; Kali helps souls find liberation from attachment to their bodies at the end of their life.

Kaliasana: How-to

For Kaliasana, spread your feet wide and at a slight outward angle.  Sit into a deep, low squat, keeping your back straight.  Bring your arms up parallel with your shoulders then bend at the elbow to create a goal post shape.  Bend your wrists so your palms are facing up to the sky.  For the full expression, look at your third eye with your two open eyes and stick out your tongue as far as it can go.  This powerful pose helps create energy, and strengthens the body, especially the legs.

Pranayama: Breathe like Kali

To take it even further, you can add Kali pranayama or breath-work.  I have seen a few different variations.  Also for other types of pranayama, click the pranayama image below

Kali Breath Variation 1

  1. Begin in Kaliasana as described above8 Limbs of Yoga: Pranayama, breath control: about and how to
  2. On an inhale, rise up from your squat, keeping your legs wide and opening your palms with fingers pointed up to the sky. Bring your tongue into your mouth
  3. On an exhale, sit back down into the squat, squeezing your hands into tight fists.  As you exhale, stick out your tongue and breath out like a daring dark goddess would, or as if you want to fog up a mirror.  Remember to look up toward your third eye
  4. Continue for 10 rounds

Kali Breath Variation 2

  1. Begin standing in mountain pose, tadanasa
  2. On an exhale, step out wide into Kaliasana, using the goddess breath, like you want to fog up a mirror, and sticking out your tongue
  3. On an inhale, step your leg back in and return to mountain pose
  4. On the next exhale, step out with the other leg, alternating which foot you step out with on each round
  5. Continue for 10 rounds

Kali Breath Variation 3

  1. Sitting deeply into your squat, start with your arms extended down, straight in front of you, palms together
  2. On an inhale, raise your arms in front of your body until they are overhead, keeping your palms together
  3. On an exhale, open your arms out to the sides and bring your hands to meet in front of your body again (option: stick your tongue out and breath out like you want to fog up a mirror on each exhale and bring your tongue back in on each inhale)
  4. Continue for 10 rounds

Guide to Nadi Shodhana: How to and Benefits

Nadi Shodhana: Alternate Nostril Breathing: how to, benefits, mudras, and meaning

Use your ring finger to close the left nostril for Nadi Shodhana
Use your ring finger to close the left nostril for Nadi Shodhana

Nadi Shodhana is a kind or Pranayama (breathwork) that involves breathing through alternate nostrils.  Nadi means river, stream or channel.  In this case, it refers to the energy channels, called nadis.  Shodhana means refinement or purification.  Nadi Shodhana is a purifying breath that helps align the energy channels of the body.

Nadi Shodhana is one of my favorite kinds of pranayama.  I like to start my day and my classes with it.

Common mudra for Nadi Shodhana
Common mudra for Nadi Shodhana

Right hand positioning

To help close one nostril at a time, use your right hand.  Fold down your pointer and middle finger.  Then turn your hand so your palm and turned down fingers are facing your chest.  You will use your thumb to close your right nostril and your ring finger to close the left.  When you do this pranayama, you want to put your finger on the part of your nose where the bone meets the cartilage.  This way, you can ensure the nostril is sealed off.

Fingers crossed for additional stability for Nadi Shodhana
Fingers crossed for additional stability for Nadi Shodhana

Alternate mudras (hand gestures) for the right hand:

1.  With your pointer and middle finger pointing down, you can wrap your ring finger around behind your pinkie. This makes the fingers more stable. If you use this mudra, you will use your pinkie to close the left nostril.

You can use your middle and pointer fingers on the third eye in Nadi Shodhana
You can use your middle and pointer fingers on the third eye in Nadi Shodhana

 

 

2.  Instead of folding down your pointer and middle finger, it’s also possible to use them to gently press your third eye. This can be calming, and can help bring awareness to the pranayama.

 

Preparing the body

Find a comfortable seat and sit up nice and tall.  You can rest your left hand on your knee, open or in any mudra (gesture) that you like.  Sometimes the fingers naturally come towards each other to form a mudra.  If this is true for you, follow your body to the mudra.

Use your thumb to close the right nostril for Nadi Shodhana
Use your thumb to close the right nostril for Nadi Shodhana

Before you begin, empty out all of your breath so you can start fresh for Nadi Shodhana.

 

For Nadi Shodhana

Close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe in through the left.  Move your hand to close your left nostril (and open the right) to exhale.  Inhale through the right, then move your hand to close the right nostril with your thumb and open the left nostril to exhale.

So: inhale, change, exhale, inhale, change, exhale

Practice this pranayama for 10 rounds (one round means inhaling and exhaling on each side)

Option to use the pointer and middle finger on the third eye to add to the calming effects of Nadi Shodhana
Option to use the pointer and middle finger on the third eye to add to the calming effects of Nadi Shodhana

 

 

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana

Nadi Shodhana helps bring oxygen into the blood stream, which is good for the respiratory and nervous system.  This type of pranayama also calms and focuses the mind, relieving stress and reducing anxiety.

 

 

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