51 Days Yoga Consciousness Series 2nd May-21st June 2021
Knowledge of Yoga is infinite, boundless and timeless. “Learning Yoga is an everlasting journey that leads you within and Within is where you find the world of immortal bliss”. –Mitraasha
Namaste All My Yoga Yaatris! May Yog Bless You!
The idea behind running this 51 Days Yoga Consciousness series is to proffer my modest learnings and share the divine pearls of Yoga science with people at large. Let’s have a conjoint intent to learn, implement and extend the wisdom of Yoga with a positive co-action and harmonious reverberation amongst each other.
Asanas For Forward Bending Of The Spine-Hastapadasana & Paschimottanasana
1. Hastapadasana:The Hand-Foot Pose (Standing Forward Bend)
Hastapadasana is a Sanskrit word where hasta means hands, padah means foot and asana means posture. It is a standing asana for the forward bending of the spine and is known as Hands to Feet pose in English. Practice of this asana instills stability and extends good health-flexibility of spine which in turns aids various essential movements that necessitates the suppleness of the spinal as a prerequisite. This asana demands as well as inculcates a raised level of concentration.
The essence of this asana reflects respecting one’s own inner self as being undivided from the higher reality and surrendering to its divine insights. This asana represents the cyclic nature of energy being produced within the body and getting assimilated back to the cosmos, and it also instigates a great amount of self acceptance, humility along with submitting oneself to the universe.
Limitations / Contraindications
- People having issues like lower back injuries or pain, cervical pain, spondylitis, spinal ailments and abnormalities, slip discs should not do this pose.
- People suffering from hypertension, cardiac issues, peptic ulcers, hernia myopia, glaucoma and other serious eye disorders should also not be doing this asana.
- Avoid this asana if you had recently suffered from chronic injuries of hips, legs, shoulders, back or you are pregnant.
How to Practice?
- Stand straight on a mat with back erect, feet together and both hands placed on their respective sides.
- Hold the head and neck straight in one line, chest thrown well forward, abdomen maintained in a normal contour, shoulders rolled out and chin parallel to the floor.
- Focus your gaze at one fixed point, straight ahead.
- Now with an inhalation in 3 seconds, raising both the hands together from the front, bring them above your head, close to the respective ears and arch back as much as possible while looking up with your eyes open.
- Immediately, with an exhalation in 3 seconds, start bending forward-downward, maintaining your head and hands together as one unit, head tucked between the hands and keeping the legs straight.
- Now try to touch the toes with the fingers, then bend the elbows and grip your ankles with your hand.
- Try to maintain the spine erect, gently move the chest towards the knees, slowly lift the hips and tailbone higher, press the heels on the floor and pull the head towards the knee to rest the forehead on the knee.
- Suspending your breath, maintain this bent posture for 6 seconds.
- Next, inhaling in 3 seconds, leave the ankles, gently elevate the trunk to an upright position and lift the hands up above the head ensuring that the hands and head raise up together as one unit.
- Now to release the posture, lower down the hands in a sweeping motion to their respective sides to come back to the starting position.
- Suggested practice of this asana is 3 rounds per session with pause in-between the rounds.
Note: For those who are not comfortable initially to retain or suspend the breath as suggested, may do the entire flow of asana with normal breathing.
- In this case of static practice, hold the final bent down position for 30 seconds to begin with, then gradually take it up to 1/2 minutes with consistent practice. Maintain a normal, slow and rhythmic breathing pattern.
Extreme stretching of the posterior muscles extends beneficial effects on the waistline, back, hips and hamstring muscles. It also gives suppleness to the spine and other joints.
The Intra-abdominal compression enhances the blood circulation to the internal organs and firms, massages the abdominal wall and the pelvic viscera, burns the extra fat deposited in the stomach region and helps in overall weight loss.
It actuates clavicular breathing thereby instilling greater ventilation to the uppermost part of the lungs.
It invigorates and aids proper functioning of the urogenital, digestive, nervous and endocrine systems.
It helps in enhanced elimination of toxins from the body, prevents the menace of auto intoxication, decreases flatulence, corrects constipation, reduces indigestion and enhances metabolism.
It gives relief in menstrual problems and hair loss issues.
It increases blood circulation to the head region, helps in emotional drainage, improves mental balance and generates calmness and quietude of the mind.
It instigates the feelings of humbleness, gratification, letting go and surrender.
2. Paschimottanasana: The Posterior Stretch (Seated Forward Bend)
In Sanskrit, Paschima means west- which here indicates the posterior side:the back side of the body, and Uttana means intense or extended stretch and Asana means pose. Practicing this asana extends good spinal fitness building up a strong and healthy spine, extensive abdominal compression strengthens the core and its final form instills a sense of modesty coupled up with accomplishment without ego.
- People having ailments like hernia, hypertension, heart diseases, peptic ulcers, asthma,diarrhea,slipped discs, abdominal inflammations, hyper thyroid, serious spinal disorders, myopia, glaucoma and serious eye disorders should not do this asana.
- Also people who have had any recent abdominal surgery and who are pregnant should also avoid performing this asana.
- People with improved back injury or sciatica, may perform this pose but only under proper guidance and supervision of an experienced teacher.
- Dynamic variation can be done by all, to their individual capacity. Do not bend the knees or arch the spine while trying to bring the forehead forward.
How to Practice?
- Sit on a mat with legs fully stretched out in Dandasana, toes facing upwards.
- Hold the spine erect, head, neck and shoulders firm in one straight line.
- Place your hands beside the body on their respective sides and palms facing downwards.
- Now gently raise both the arms with palms facing downwards,bent at the elbows, closer to the chest and lying parallel to the ground.
- With an inhalation in 3 seconds, slowly lean back and pull the trunk as much as you.
- Immediately with an exhalation in 3 seconds, gently bend forward, tuck in the abdomen and simultaneously outstretch the hands in a way that they cross the toes.
- Next inhaling in 3 seconds, immediately come back to the earlier position where back and neck were straight, hands were besides the chest with elbows bent and parallel to the ground.
- Suggested way to do this asana is repeating the above steps continuously 3-4 times without break in a way that it resembles as if one is rowing a boat. And then at the end of those rounds, after reaching the centre position, release the posture by resting the arms by the side to take the starting position.
Doing it Static Way
- The above asana can also be done in a static way, where after bending forward and reaching the toes, try to gently bring the elbows down to touch the ground as much as you can, while also bending the head to bring the forehead to the knees.
- Keep the forehead in the gap between the knees and stay in this posture beginning from 30 seconds to reaching upto 1-2 minutes gradually with practice.
- To release the posture, gently leave the toes, raise your head and back, come back to the centre position and bring back your hands on your sides. Do the entire sequence with normal, slow and rhythmic breathing.
The posterior stretches to the spine, tones the spinal nerves, corrects minor deformities of the curvature of the spine, improve the alignment of vertebral columns, brings spinal flexibility and enhances the blood circulation of the veins and arteries.
It extends a good stretch to the superficial and deep muscles of the back side of the body from head to ankle including the spine, shoulders, hamstrings and calves.
It eliminates excessive fat from the hips, abdomen, thighs, lumbar region and gives them good plaiancy with the movements.
Due to the deep intra-abdominal compression, the abdominal viscera gets massaged and the functions of intra-abdominal glands improve.
It is very beneficial, therapeutic and relieving in conditions related to high blood pressure, diabetes, infertility, colitis, insomnia, sinusitis, constipation, weak digestion, kidney problems, sluggish liver, sciatica and lumbago.
It also revitalises the functioning of the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus.
It ameliorates the respiratory process.
As per the traditional texts, Paschimottanasana induces good appetite, decreases obesity and aids in curing many ailments.
Practice of this asana is very helpful in relieving the symptoms of menopause as well as menstrual cramps and aches.
It settles down headaches, anxiety, fatigue and works as a stress reliever. It induces calmness and tranquility of the mind and boosts concentration.
It instills and strengthens the sense of letting go, surrender, devotion and adherence.
It purifies the energy channels (Nadis) and aids in activating Kundalini Shakti.
Thought of the day: “Surrender is not a weakness, it is a strength. It takes tremendous strength to surrender life to the supreme – to the cosmic unfolding.” Mooji
Link to day 29 : Yoga Mudra https://kreately.in/day-29-yoga-mudra-mitraasha/
Link to day 31: Bhujangasana https://kreately.in/day-31-bhujangasana-mitraasha/
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