This series of practices works specifically on the digestive system. Being the body’s energy power plant, the digestive system is of vital importance to health and well-being. It’s responsible for the breakdown of food, assimilation of nutrients and elimination of waste.

The PMA2 group of asanas stimulates and tones the abdominal organs, increases flexibility in the spine, helps to relieve imbalances in the reproductive system, raises vitality, strengthens the core muscles and is particularly beneficial for indigestion, constipation, acidity, excess wind or gas, and the loss of appetite, diabetes and varicose veins.

The practices require a significant amount of effort and can be quite demanding on the lower back muscles. It is advisable to ensure there is adequate padding under the body, and that these asanas are introduced gradually. For those with back ailments and weak abdominal muscles, some poses may not be suitable; however variations and modifications may be used to protect and support the core. As with all yoga practices, listen to your body and honor it’s needs.

Boat pose

Naukasana

  • Lie in the PMA2 Base Position.
  • Contract the abdominal muscles.
  • Simultaneously lift the head, shoulders, arms and legs off the floor (about 10 cms).
  • Have the hands and feet aligned, the same distance from the floor.
  • Balance the body on the buttocks, keeping the spine straight.
  • Hold for a few seconds then release, slowly lowering the body to the floor.
  • Practice 3-5 rounds taking a few deep abdominal breaths in between each round.

Breathing

Inhale before raising the body.

  • Retain the breath in while raising, tensing and lowering the body.
  • Exhale relax in PMA2 Base Position.

Awareness

  • The strength of the abdominal muscles.
  • Alignment of the head, neck and spine.
  • Synchronizing the movements with the breath.

Benefits

  • Stimulates the muscular, digestive, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems.
  • Tones all the abdominal organs.
  • Removes lethargy.
  • Useful for eliminating nervous tension.
  • Helps to bring about deep relaxation.

Mini Boat pose

Modified Naukasana

  • Lie in the PMA2 Base Position.
  • Bend the knees and place the soles of the feet in front of the buttocks, flat on the floor.
  • Rest the hands on the thighs.
  • Engage the abdominal muscles and raise the head, shoulders and back.
  • Simultaneously, slide the hands up the thighs towards the knee caps.
  • Pause at the full lift, appropriate for your body.
  • Slowly lower the torso and the hands, relax the body.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.

Breathing

  • Inhale before raising the body.
  • Exhale when raising the head and shoulders from the floor.

Awareness

  • The strength of the abdominal muscles.
  • Alignment of the head, neck and spine.
  • Synchronizing the movements with the breath.

Benefits

  • Stimulates the muscular, digestive, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems.
  • Tones all the abdominal organs.
  • Removes lethargy.
  • Useful for eliminating nervous tension.
  • Helps to bring about deep relaxation.

Universal Spinal twist

Shava Udarakarshanasana

  • Lie in the PMA2 Base Position.
  • Take the arms out to the sides, shoulder level with the palms turned down.
  • Bend the right leg and place the sole of the foot beside the left kneecap.
  • Take the left hand to rest on top of the right knee.
  • Gently bring the right knee to the left side of the body, keeping the leg bent and foot in contact with the knee.
  • Turn the head to the right to gaze along the straight arm.
  • Hold the position as long as comfortable then return back to the PMA2 Base Position.
  • Practice with the left leg by taking the arms out to the sides, bending the left knee, right hand on knee, draw the knee to the right, gaze to the left.
  • Practice once more to each side, gradually extending the duration of the held position.

Breathing

  • Inhale in the starting position.
  • Exhale when drawing the knee to the floor and head in the opposite direction.
  • Natural breath while holding the position.

Awareness

  • The relaxation of the back, arms and shoulders.
  • Softening the muscles with the exhalation.

Sequence

  • Practice after forward and backward bending asanas, or after sitting for prolonged periods of time to relax the lower back.

Benefits

  • Tightness and tiredness in the lower back and hips.
  • Helps to realign the hips.
  • Pelvic and abdominal organs are toned through the massaging action.

Sleeping abdominal

Supta Udarakarshanasana

  • Lie in the PMA2 Base Position.
  • Bend both knees and place the soles of the feet in front of the buttocks, flat on the floor.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands and place the palms under the back of the head, open the chest and keep the shoulders and elbows in contact with the floor throughout.
  • Bring the knees and feet together and slowly lower them to the right, taking the knees toward the floor.
  • Simultaneously turn the head and neck to the left.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then raise both knees to the centre.
  • Slowly lower the legs to the left, turning the head and neck to the right.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then raise both knees to the centre.
  • Repeat 5-10 times alternating between right and left sides.

Breathing

  • Inhale legs to the centre.
  • Exhale while lowering the legs to the side.
  • Retain the breath in the final position.

Awareness

  • The twisting stretch of the paraspinal and abdominal muscles.
  • Synchronizing the movements with the breath.

Progression

  • Experiment with the distance of the feet from the buttocks and how it affects the stretch experienced. You can also try separating the feet.
  • Lift the feet from the floor and bring the thighs towards the chest. Keeping the hands underneath the head, shoulders planted into the floor, move the knees from side to side using the core strength. This can be extended further by straightening the legs.

Benefits

  • Stretches and massages the abdominal organs and muscles.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Helps to remove constipation.
  • Relieves strain and stiffness in the spinal muscles.
  • Brings suppleness to the whole spinal column.

Rocking & Rolling

Jhulana Lurhakanasana

  • Lie in the PMA2 Base Position.
  • Bend both knees and bring the thighs towards the chest.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands and clasp around the shins, just below the knees.

Stage 1

  • Keep the head in line with the spine throughout the practice.
  • Roll the body to the right and touch the side of the right arm to the floor.
  • Using the abdominal muscles and support of the right arm, roll back to the centre.
  • Then, roll the body to the left, and touch the side of the left arm to the floor.
  • Using the abdominal muscles and support of the left arm, roll back to the centre.
  • Continue to roll from side to side 5-10 times.
  • Inhale in the centre.
  • Exhale roll to the side.

Stage 2

  • Begin in the starting position and rock the whole body backwards and forwards on the spine.
  • As you increase momentum, when rocking forward come up onto the feet in a squatting position.
  • On the backwards movement, extend the legs so that they come over the head.
  • Practice 5-10 backward and forward movements.
  • Inhale to roll backwards.
  • Exhale to rock forwards.

Awareness

  • The coordination and smoothness of the movement.
  • Synchronizing the movements with the breath.

Contraindications

  • Serious back conditions.
  • Neck conditions.

Progression

  • Stage 1 - Use the core strength without using the arms to roll from side to side.
  • Stage 2 - Extend the forwards movement all the way into a standing squat. Extend the backwards movement into plough pose.

Benefits

  • Massages the back, buttocks and hips.
  • Increases heat in the body.
  • Brings suppleness to the whole spinal column.

Practice note

  • Place a folded blanket underneath the spine for extra padding.
  • When rocking back, keep the head forward and be careful of the neck at all times.

Leg lock pose

Supta Pawanmuktasana

Stage 1

  • Engage the left leg muscles and keep the leg straight, in contact with the floor.
  • Bend the right knee and bring the thigh towards the chest.
  • Interlock the fingers around the shin, below the knee.
  • Raise the head and shoulders off the ground and bring the nose towards the knee.
  • Hold for a few seconds then slowly lower the head and shoulders returning to the PMA2 base position.
  • Practice up to 3 times with the right leg, then up to 3 times with the left.

Stage 2

  • From the PMA2 Base Position, bend both knees towards the chest.
  • Interlace the fingers around the shins, below the knees.
  • Raise the head and shoulders off the ground and bring the nose towards the knees.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower the head and shoulders and return to the PMA2 base position.
  • Practice up to 5 times.

Breathing

  • Inhale in the base position.
  • Exhale when raising the head and shoulders towards knee(s).
  • Retain the breath out while holding the position.

Awareness

  • The smoothness of the movement.
  • The abdominal pressure created.
  • Synchronizing the movements with the breath.

Contraindications

  • High blood pressure.
  • Serious back conditions.
  • Sciatica.
  • Slipped disc.

Modification

  • Stage 1 -Bend the passive leg, keeping the foot on the floor to support the lower back.
  • Raise the knee(s) as instructed, whilst keeping the head and shoulders relaxed on the floor.

Progression

  • Stage 1 - Instead of keeping the passive leg in contact with the floor, raise it slightly.
  • Stage 2 - Change the breath. Inhale to raise. Retain the breath as the posture is held. Exhale to lower.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the lower back muscles.
  • Massages the abdominal and digestive organs.
  • Helps to remove constipation.
  • Stimulates the pelvic muscles and reproductive organs.
  • Useful for impotence, sterility and menstrual problems.

Practice note

  • After each stage remain in PMA2 base position and relax, allowing the breath to return back to normal.

Cycling

Pada Sanchalanasana

Stage 1

  • Bend the right knee and bring the thigh towards the chest.
  • Raise and straighten the right leg towards the ceiling.
  • Lower the straightened leg down, just before touching the floor bend the knee again bringing it towards the chest.
  • This completes one cycling movement.
  • Practice 5-10 times forwards then 5-10 times backwards.
  • Once complete release the right leg and practice in the same way with the left leg.
  • Inhale when straightening the leg.
  • Exhale when bending the leg.

Stage 2

  • Raise both legs.
  • Alternatively cycle the legs as though peddling a bicycle.
  • Practice 5-10 times forwards then 5-10 times backwards.
  • Natural breath throughout.

Stage 3

  • Bend both the knees towards the chest.
  • Keeping the legs together, raise them up to the ceiling.
  • Lower the straightened legs towards the floor and just before touching the floor bend the knees, bringing them to the chest for the next cycle.
  • Practice 5-10 times forwards then 5-10 times backwards.
  • Inhale when straightening the legs.
  • Exhale when bending the legs.

Awareness

  • The smoothness of the movement.
  • Stimulation of the abdominal muscles.
  • Synchronizing the movements with the breath.

Contraindications

  • High blood pressure.
  • Serious back conditions.
  • Sciatica.
  • Slipped disc.

Modification

  • Stage 1 - Bend the passive leg, keeping the foot on the floor to support the lower back.
  • Stage 2 - Begin with the legs in the air and make small cycling movements and gradually increasing.

Progression

  • Stage 1 - Instead of keeping the passive leg in contact with the floor, raise it slightly.
  • Stage 3 – Pause at different intervals.

Benefits

  • Good for the knee and hip joints.
  • Strengthens the abdominal and lower back muscles.

Practice note

  • Keep the back, arms, neck and head in contact with the floor throughout the practice.
  • After each stage remain in PMA2 base position and relax, allowing the breath to return back to normal.

Leg rotation

Padachakrasana

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Raised leg pose

Padotthanasana

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