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Backward Bending

/Backward Bending

Sarpasana (Snake pose)

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Sarpasana also called snake pose , helps straighten and correct the posture , particularly rounded shoulders and has a profound strenthening effect on the back muscles. How to do it? 1. Lie flat on your stomach with your legs straight and feet together. 2. Interlocking your hands behind place them above your buttocks. keep your chin on the floor . 3.  Breathe in and Raise your chest above, as far as possible from the floor. 4. Push your hands further behind and raise your arms as high as comfortable. 5. Hold for 30sec to 1min with controlled and slow breathing. 6. Breathe out and Slowly return to your original position releasing your hands. 7. Turn to one side and sit upright. 8. Repeat this asana 3 times.   Contra-indications: People suffering from the following problems must not practice this asana: Peptic ulcer Hernia Intestinal tuberculosis Hyperthyroidism High BP/ Heart conditions Benefits: It tones the ovaries and uterus Helps in menstrual and gynecological disorders. Keeps the spine supple and healthy Stimulates appetite and alleviates constipation. Beneficial for kidneys and the liver.   - Ruchi Renavikar

Chakrasama (Wheel pose)

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Chakrasana (wheel pose)   How to do Chakrasana? -Lie on the back with knees bent and the heels touching the buttock. – Place the palms on the floor besides the head with the fingers pointing towards the shoulders. This is the starting position. […]

Vrischikasana (Scorpion pose)

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Vrischikasana (Scorpion pose)   Vrischika means scorpion in sanskrit. In order to sting its victim, the scorpion arches its tail above it back and then strikes beyonds its head. This asana resembles a striking scorpion. In the full expression of the posture the back will assume a deeper arch and the feet will come close to the head. It is good to begin with a simple forearm stand so you can find your balance and then progress to a full back bend in the final posture . How to do Vrischikasana? - Assume the final position of sirshasana or headstand. - Relax the whole body, bend the knees and arch the back - Maintain balance and carefully move the forearms so they lie parallel to eachother on either side of the head. - Transfer the weight on the forearms and find balance. - Lower the feet as far as possible toward the head. - Slowly raise the head backward and upward. - Raise the upper arms so they are vertical. - Hold the final position for as long as is comfortable. Benefits: Vrischikasana reorganizes prana in the body, arresting the physical ageing process. It improves blood flow to the brain and pituitary gland, revitalizing all the body's systems. The arched position stretches and loosens the back, toning the nerves of the spine. It strengthens the arms and develops the sense of balance. Contraindications: This asana should not be practiced by people with high blood pressure, vertigo, cerebral thrombosis or heart disease. All cautions for strenuous, inverted postures apply.

Ushtrasana (camel pose)

Begin in the kneeling position with hand on the buttock, fingers pointing downward. Toes can be curled (if you are feeling unstable or muscles feel tight) or flat (if you are familiar with ushtrasana and feel comfortable in this asana) One hand at a time, take the hands back to the heels. Once you have a firm grip on the heels, push the hips forward and drop the head all the way back, relaxing the neck. Stay for a few breaths. Slowly relesae the hands one by one and rest in sharnagat mudra How it helps: Camel pose applies a good stretch to the whole chest and the abdomen while at the same time giving a massage to the internal organs. As a result, it is useful in removing many of the abdominal ailments associated with the kidneys, pancreas, liver and the intestines. It expands the ribcage and the associated muscles get more flexible. As a result, deeper breathing becomes easier.The spine gets a great backbend, loosening up the vertebras and stimulating the spinal nerves. It corrects stooping shoulders. Good for general relief of back and neck ache. It is a great way to introduce your body to backbends, working toward more difficult postures with ushtrasana as a jumping off point. How do you track your progress in yoga? By Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)


Sit in padmasana and relax the whole body. Carefully bend backward supporting the body with the arms and elbows. Inhale and lift your chest toward the ceiling, creating an arch in the back. Allow the head and neck to relax, dropping the crown of the head on the floor. The weight of the body should be supported by the elbows, not the head. Breath deeply and slowly in the final posture. How it helps: Relieves tension in the neck, throat and shoulders. Good for correcting rounded shoulders. Stretches the intestines and abdominal organs, useful for all abdominal ailments. Good for asthma and bronchitis as it encourages deep respiration. Regulates the function of the thyroid gland. Matsyasana should always be practiced after sarvanagasana (Shoulder stand.) In sarvangasana the throat becomes locked as the chin presses onto the collar bone. In matsyasana we unlock the throat. If it is difficult to sit in padmasana, you can practice the variation pictured above, keeping the legs strait and together throughout the practice.

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Lie down on the stomach Place the palms next to the chest. Begin to raise the chest and and ribcage off the floor, leaving the rest of the body (from hips to toes) on the mat. Elbows should be bent and remain tucked into the waist. Slowly lower yourself down onto the mat on an exhale. How it helps: Bhujangasana is a back bend that is great for strengthening the muscles in the entire back. It helps increase the suppleness of the spine and relieves stooped shoulders. It increases the intra-abdominal pressure and brings down the loaded faecal matter from the transverse colon to rectum. Hence it relieves constipation. By Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano

Sarpasana (Snake pose)

Lie flat on your stomach Bring your arms behind your back clasping the hands together>Rest the forehead on the ground and relax the whole body. Inhale deeply expanding the chest and abdomen as much as possible. Begin to lift the shoulders and chest off the mat by contracting the back muscles and tensing the arms. Raise the body as high as you can without causing any strain. After a comfortable length of time slowly lower the body to the floor while exhaling. Completely relax the body in the starting position. Allow respiration to return to normal. How it helps: Sarpasana strengthens the back, massages the abdominal organs, relieves back pain and aids with digestion ailments such as constipation. It is also beneficial for those with diabetes. By Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano  

Shashank bhujangasana (striking cobra pose)

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Start in sharnagat mudra. Be sure to keep the hands in the same position throughout the practice. Lift the buttock from the heels and slowly begin to move forward. Slide the chest as close to the ground as possible and begin to arch the back as you extend the elbows. Open the chest and lift the chin in the final position. Stay here for a few moments and then begin to move backward. Pushing the hips back toward the heels as you exhale. How it helps: This asana combines the benefits of the backward bend of bhujangasana and the forward bending of sharnagat mudra. Dynamic movements are a great way to limber up the spine and can also be beneficial when preparing for other backbends. It tones the abdominal and pevic muscles and promotes good bowel movements. It also is useful in relieving menstrual cramps, backache and neck ache.

Ardha shalabasana (Half locust pose)

Lie down on your stomach with legs close together and hands on the sides. Make sure your abdomen, chest and chin are touching the ground. Bring the arms completely under the body, palms facing downwards until pinky fingers are touching and elbows are resting close to the navel. This can be very uncomfortable on the elbows at first but gets easier with practice. If it is too uncomfortable you can clench your fists and keep them facing upwards just next to the body. Inhale and hold your breath. Taking support from the palms, raise your left leg backwards straight up, without bending the knee or twisting the hips. The body from navel upwards should be on the ground. Exhale slowly and bring your left leg down. Repeat on the other side. How it helps: Ardha shalabhasana is a great pose to practice if you have been advised not to practice the full asana due to back ailments. It is safe to perform, as it puts less pressure on the back. Great for strengthening back muscles and dissolving fat on the thighs and hips. Aids in digestion and relieving constipation.

Shalabhasana (Locust pose)

Assume the prone position with chin on the ground. Tuck the arms underneath thebody, palms facing downwards until pinky fingers are touching, elbows resting close to the navel. Inhale and raise both the legs together from the hips. Knees should be stretched the whole time and chin should not leave the floor. Slowly lower the legs after a few breaths. How it helps  Builds strength in the muscles of the lower back. Increases flexibility in the back. Especially recommended for relieving sciatica and pain in the lower back. Massages the internal organs. Improves digestion. Strengthens the arms and shoulders.

Setu asana (bridge pose)

  How to do Setu asana  Sit with the legs stretched forward. Place the palms on either side of the body, just behind the buttocks. Raise the buttocks and lift the whole body upward. Let the head and neck relax. Try to place the soles of the feet on the ground, arms and legs should be strait. Hold the final position for as long as is possible then sowly lower back down to the starting position. How it helps Setu asana is great for strengthening the wrists, arms, back, shoulders and abdomen. It also tones the lumbar region and the Achilles tendon. It is a good preliminary practice to chakrasana.  

Setu bandhasana (bound bridge pose)

How to do Setu bandhasana Lie on the back with knees bent, soles of the feet flat on the floor. Fingertips should graze the heels. Slowly lift the hips from the floor, pushing down through the big toes and the heels. The chest should lift toward the chin but avoid locking the chin to the chest, tilt the head back slightly by shifting your gaze upward. Hold the posture for 30 seconds or use it as a dynamic pose and pulse the hips up and down slowly. Slowly release the hips back down to the floor and hug the knees to the chest to release the back. How it helps Setu bandhasana has many of the same benefits as setu asana but it can be safely practiced by anyone. It is great for relieving tension in the lower back and helps loosen up a stiff back if done dynamically. It also strengthens the lower back and quadricep muscles.