Yoga & Mandalas with Maanasa Yalamanchili

This summer Maanasa Yalamanchili taught yoga, and meditation, at the Rise summer camp. She also shared some of her lessons activities on the uRise portal which you can check out and complete on-demand.


Lesson 1: Making Mandalas

Mandalas are used for meditation.  They can contain spiritual symbolism.  They can be simple, clean lines or highly detailed artwork.  They are made of a variety of materials from fabrics to sand to paper. Making mandalas is good for concentration, fine motor skills, relaxation, and self-expression.


Lesson 2: Yoga Poses

Try these yoga poses or asanas at home. Make sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water. See the notes below for information and instructions on each pose.

Butterfly Pose (Bhadhakonasana):

Sit on your yoga mat with a solid and straight spine. Bend your knees and move the soles of both feet closer to the pelvis by bringing them together. With your hands, tightly grip both of your feet. You can also support yourself by placing your hands beneath your feet. Make a moderate effort to move the heels closer to your body. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Breathe out slowly as you lower your thighs and knees to the floor. Continue to gently press them downward with your fingers. Start swinging both legs up and down like a butterfly’s wings while breathing normally. Maintain a normal breathing pattern throughout the procedure. Begin slowly and increase your speed progressively. If you are not able to completely touch your knees to the floor, do not force yourself!

Benefits

  • Improves flexibility in the hip region
  • Stretches the inner & outer thigh, and the knees
  • Strengthens hips, legs, lower back and abdomen
  • Helps the intestine and bowel movements
  • Removes fatigue from long hours of standing and walking

Shoulder Rotations

Stand straight with your arms by your sides and with your feet shoulder-width apart. You may also do this pose sitting on your mat in criss-cross. Lift your arms into a straight line so your palm is facing the ceiling. Fold your arms inwards and hold your shirt or shoulders. Slowly rotate your shoulders forward, making big circles. Repeat the movement backward after finishing the forward rotation. 

Benefits

  • Increases shoulder flexibility
  • Helps you stretch before an upper body workout

Wind- Relieving Pose (Pavana Muktasana)

Lie on your back with your feet together and arms beside your body. Breathe in and as you exhale, bring your right knee towards your chest and press the thigh on your abdomen with clasped hands .Breathe in again and as you exhale, lift your head and chest off the floor and touch your chin to your right knee. Hold it there, as you take deep, long breaths in and out. As you exhale, tighten the grip of the hands on the knee and increase the pressure on the chest. As you inhale, loosen the grip, come back to the ground and relax. Repeat this pose with the left leg.

Benefits

  • Helps relieve gas and stomach discomfort
  • Strengthens the back and abdominal muscles
  • Tones the leg and arm muscles
  • Massages the intestines and other organs in the abdomen
  • Helps in digestion and release of gas
  • Enhances blood circulation in the hip joints and eases tension in the lower back

Spinal Twist(Vakrasana)

Lie down on your back and keep your legs and arms straight. Put your right leg over your left. Remember to keep your left leg straight. Put your left hand on the right knee and try to make the knee touch the ground. If you cannot do that, do not force yourself. Your shoulders must always stay on the floor. Turn your head to the right and stretch your right hand straight. If you feel a stretch through your spine, you are doing it right. If you do not feel a stretch, try adjusting your right leg’s position. Do the same on the other side as well. 

Benefits

  • Straightens upper back
  • Tones back muscles
  • Strengthens neck muscles
  • Tones back muscles
  • Activates thyroid glands

Boat Pose(Navasana)

Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your feet off the floor. Keep your knees bent at first. Bring your shins parallel to the floor. Your torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine round. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle if you can do so without losing the integrity of your upper body. You want to keep your torso as upright as possible so that it makes a V shape with the legs. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your arms roughly parallel to the floor with your palms turned up. Do your best to balance on the sit bones, but it’s normal if you are resting slightly behind them. Focus on lifting your chest to support the balance. Stay for at least five breaths. Release your legs on an exhale. Then inhale and sit up. If you can not stay for that long and it hurts, bring your legs back down and relax whenever you feel discomfort. 

Benefits

  • Builds abdominal and core strength
  • Strengthens deep hip flexors
  • Helps improve balance 

Rowing the Boat(Nauka Sanchalanasana)

To practice Nauka Sanchalanasana or Rowing the Boat pose, sit with both legs straight in front of the body on the floor or on the yoga mat. Imagine yourself sitting in a boat and rowing it. This is all you are supposed to do while practicing this pose. To get into this pose, clench the hands as though grasping oars, with the palms facing down. Breathe out and bend forward from the waist as far as is comfortable. Make sure that you straighten the arms while practicing this pose. Inhale deeply and lean back as far as possible while drawing the hands back towards the shoulders while practicing the Rowing the Boat pose. While practicing this pose, the hands should make a complete circular movement in every round. Your arms should move up the sides of the legs and trunk while practicing Rowing the Boat pose. The legs should be kept straight throughout while practicing the Rowing the Boat pose. Afterwards, relax in the corpse pose to catch your breath. Once you feel comfortable, reverse the direction of the rowing movement as though going in the opposite direction while practicing this pose.

Benefits

  • Relieves digestive trouble
  • Removes drowsiness after waking up
  • Increases spine flexibility
  • Induces physical and mental relaxation
  • Removes joint pain from the body

Crocodile Pose(Makarasana)

Sit on your yoga mat and lie down on your stomach. Place your arms in front of your face and rest your right cheek on your arms. After a minute or two, lift your face off of your arms and support your chin by putting your elbows on the mat and cupping your hands on your chin. After staying in that position for three or four minutes, place your right cheek back on your arms and relax. Your legs and body must be stretched out straight the whole time while you perform this pose. 

Benefits

  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Relaxes spine and relieves tension in the spinal area
  • Alleviates discomfort or pain in the hip region
  • Stretches upper body

Lotus Pose(Padmasana)

Stretch both the legs out and sit on the mat. Keep your spine straight. Slowly, with or without the help of your hands, place your right foot on your left thigh. This is the half lotus pose. Next, place your left foot on your right thigh. If you can not do this, just stay in the half lotus pose. Once you are comfortable in the full or half lotus pose, place your hands on your knees, close your eyes, and relax your mind. Take in all the noises and sounds around you. After sitting like this for three or four minutes, slowly open your eyes and come out of this pose. 

Benefits

  • Increases hip flexibility
  • Improves leg flexibility
  • Induces spine to be straight

Corpse-Relaxing Pose(Shavasana)

Sit on your back and lie down on your back. Place your arms in a 45 degree angle next to your body, Your feet should be falling to the side and your legs should be straight. Close your eyes and relax. Think about your surroundings and where you are. Think about the color of the walls in the room. Think about the objects and sounds around you. After staying in this pose for about five or six minutes, bend your knees. Rub your palms together and place them on your eyes. Then, slowly open your eyes and use the support of your palms to come back to a sitting posture. 

Benefits

  • Less muscle tension
  • Decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate 
  • Better sleep 
  • A calmer and relaxed sense of being 
  • Improved digestive system 
  • Increased concentration, patience, and energy 
  • Less Anxiety