This asana debuts in the Suryanamaskars. It is a simple but a powerful Asana that helps in lengthening and strengtheningof the hamstrings and calf muscles (muscles on the back of the legs) and activates the inner legs. Every Asana has a ‘Bhavas’ or expressions attached to it. The Bhava attached with this asana is that of Vairagya- total surrender and acceptance of
- Calming the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys
- Strengthens the thighs and knees
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Reduces fatigue and anxiety
- Relieves headache and insomnia
- Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis.
1. Stand with your feet parallel to each other not making a ‘V’ with them. Inhaling take your hands lengthening them pointing towards the sky and stretch them as if you are trying to touch the ceiling. Remember, the more you stretch and lengthen your spine here the easier and better and asana will be when you fold forwards.
2. Exhaling, bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your legs, pivoting at the waist and moving hips behind. Bringing your hands next to your feet.
3. Inhale and extend your chest to lengthen your spine. Keep your gaze directed forward. You can be on your fingertips here to make the back as much as possible parallel to the ground. This is also called Ardh Uttanasana.
4. Then exhaling, extend your torso down without rounding your back place your hands next to your feet trying as much as possible to bring the palms on the floor pushing the ground slightly away from you. Lifting the kneecaps and gently try to straighten your legs, only as much as feels comfortable to you.
5. Gaze towards your big toe using ‘drishti’ or gaze to lengthen your spine further. Tuck your chin towards your chest bringing the crown of the head facing towards the floor.You can catch your toe by wrapping your index and middle finger around it for a full version. Stay for 3-4 breaths slowly increasing your time there.
6. Come back very slowly and gently up, bringing your hands back onto your hips and straightening further from there.
Avoid these mistakes-
- Do not round your back trying to get the head close to knees instead lengthen the spine targeting the shins instead.
- Do not place hands in front of your feet but rather beside them to maintain the integrity of the shoulders.
Do not do this asana if you –
- Are Pregnant
- Have spinal problems
- Spondilysis or Hernia
- Cardiac problems, High BP
Remember that it is okay if you are not able to straighten your legs all the way in the beginning. Slowly with practice as your muscles become stronger you will start achieving the asana. Anyway the purpose of the Yoga practice is not to achieve or own an asana it is the process of enjoying the journey. Showing up on the mat everyday practicing and gently guiding your body towards its healthier self.