Wind Lion logoAIDS RibbonPostures for HIV/AIDS
In Iyengar Yoga, the sequencing of postures is important. Below are two sequences of postures for HIV/AIDS. Most of the postures in the first sequence are illustrated with brief instructions in the article Yoga and AIDS, by Paula Kout. We intend to add links to complete instructions and step by step illustrations for each of the postures. For now, the lists may be useful for Yoga teachers, and for students familiar with the poses or who wish to learn them from classes, books, or videos. Inverted poses may be of particular benefit to the immune system. The remaining poses generally produce a relaxing and restorative effect. Please heed the following cautions; they are for your benefit!

Cautions for Students with HIV/AIDS

1. Please consult with your health care provider before beginning a Yoga practice.

2. Fatigue can only further weaken the immune system. Do not overexert yourself. Avoid overheating in any of the poses.

3. If you have a red rash or itching or redness of the eyes, avoid overheating, the full inversions (handstand, peacock pose, headstand, unsupported shoulderstand), and backbends (staff pose and unsupported backbends).

4. Students with CMV retinitis should avoid the full inversions.

5. If you have recently had a bout of pneumocystis, you should probably avoid unsupported backbends and staff pose, as they may be too stressful for your lung tissue.

General Cautions/Instructions

1. You should practice with an empty stomach, and preferably with empty bowels and bladder. Wait 4 hours after a heavy meal, or two hours after a light meal, to practice.

2. Wear non-restrictive clothing while practicing. Do not wear shoes or socks.

3. Students with back or hip discomfort, displaced vertebrae, spurs, arthritis, or other physical limitations should consult their physicians before beginning a Yoga practice.

4. Breath normally while in all of the Yoga poses. Relax the eyes, ears, throat, and abdomen.

5. Avoid exerting yourself beyond your capacity. Any pain or discomfort in a pose should be mild and temporary. Sharp or persistent pain is a sign of a physical problem or incorrect practice; consult your physician and/or a qualified Yoga instructor.

6. During menstruation, women should avoid the inverted poses.

7. Pregnant women should consult their physician and obtain instruction from a qualified Yoga instructor before beginning a Yoga practice. Avoid deep forward bends or other poses that constrict or twist the abdomen.

8. Do not do the inverted poses if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, detached retina, or ear problems. If you have neck problems, consult a qualified Yoga instructor.

9. Obtain assistance to go up into the inverted poses if you are not familiar with them.

10. Remember: no book, video, or other written instruction can take the place of personal instruction from a qualified Yoga instructor who can teach you the poses, make adjustments to the poses for any physical limitations you may have, and make corrections as you perform the poses!


Primary Sequence of Poses for HIV/AIDS

1. Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana).

2. Peacock pose (Pinca Mayurasana)(optional pose, to be done only if student is strong enough and can perform other poses).

3. Supported downwards dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) (with head supported by a block).

4. Headstand (Sirsasana) (students with neck problems or weakness may try "chair headstand."

5. Inverted staff pose (Viparita Dandasana) (supported with chair).

6. Supported bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) (supported by setu bandha bench or blocks).

7. Simple cross leg pose (Sukhasana) (leaning forward, head supported by chair).

8. Supported shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) (use chair under buttocks for support).

9. Supported plow pose (Ardha Halasana) (use chair or halasana bench for support).

10. Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani)(with buttocks supported by blankets or bolsters).

11. Supine bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)(with back and head supported by blankets or bolsters).

12. Supported relaxation pose (Savasana)(with back and head supported by blankets or bolsters).

Alternate Sequence of Poses for HIV/AIDS

This sequence is for students who should not perform the full inversions, but it can be done by others as well (see cautions above).

1. Supported downwards dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) (with head supported by a block).

2. Supported head/knee forward bend (Janu Sirsasana)(support head with blankets or bolsters).

3. Three part forward bend (Triang Mukhaikapada Pascimottanasana) (support head with blankets or bolsters).

4. Supported half bound lotus forward bend (Ardha Baddha Padma Pascimottanasana)(support head with blankets or bolsters).

5. Seated forward bend, or West stretch (Pascimottanasana)(support head with blankets or bolsters).

6. Supported plow pose (Ardha Halasana) (use chair or halasana bench for support).

7. Supported shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) (use chair for support).

8. Supported bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) (supported by setu bandha bench or blocks).

9. Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani) (with buttocks supported by blankets or bolsters).

10. Supine bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)(with back and head supported by blankets or bolsters).

11. Supported relaxation pose (Savasana)(with back and head supported by blankets or bolsters).


[ Home | Yoga Group
Classes
| Classes in
other Cities
| Articles on Yoga
for HIV/AIDS
| Yoga for
AIDS Video
| Books &
Props
| Links ]