Backward Bending Asanas

By on May 4, 2015
standing

BACKWARD BENDING ASANAS
The asanas in this section are essentially beneficial for the spine and abdominal muscles. These help in toning and strengthening the muscles supporting the spine and reduce risks of slip disc and other back ailments. The spinal nerves are rejuvenated and resultant positive effect helps all body organs and muscles.
The sympathetic and the parasympathetic nerves are energized by the backward bending asanas. The blood circulation is improved and body waste removal process is improved.

 

BHUJANGASANA

BHUJANGASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-69: Bhujangasana (The cobra posture)

  • Lie flat on the stomach with legs straight and feet extended.
  • Place your palms on the floor under the shoulders.
  • Rest your head on the ground and relax the whole body.
  • Slowly raise the head and the shoulders off the ground while bending your head back as far back as possible.
  • Try to raise the shoulders without using the arms and utilizing the back muscles.
  • Using your arms, thereafter, bend your back as much as possible without any strain till the arms are straight.
  • Keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.
  • Hold till comfortably possible.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Breathing-

  • Inhale while raising the body from the floor.
  • Breathe normally in the final pose.
  • Hold breath inside while final position is retained for a short time.

Limitations-
Patients of peptic ulcers, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyperthyroidism should not perform this asana.
Benefits-

  • Helps cure female sexual disorders like leucorrhea, dysmenhorrea and amenorrhea.
  • Tones up ovaries and uterus, stimulates appetite and removes constipation.
  • It is beneficial for all organs in the abdominal region especially liver and the kidneys.
  • Relocates slipped discs, removes back pain and keeps the spine supple and healthy.

Bhujangasana Variation -1

Bhujangasana Variation -1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variation-1: (The sphinx posture)

  • Assume base position for bhujangasana.
  • Rest the lower arms flat on the floor so that the palms face downwards beside the head.
    Ret of the asana is the same except that the shoulders are raised from
  • the bent elbows position.
  • The upper arms are straight in the final position.

This is a simple form of Bhujangasana for beginners.

 

SARPASANA BHUJANGASANA VARIATION -1

SARPASANA BHUJANGASANA VARIATION -1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bhujangasana Variation -1 (The snake pose)

  • Lie flat on the stomach.
  • Place your arms behind the back and hold the wrists.
  • Tense the muscles of the back and arms and raise the chest, as far as possible off the floor while bending the head backward.
  • Hold as long as comfortable.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Breathing

  • Inhale deeply just prior to raising the trunk.
  • Retain breath inside while taising.
  • Exhale while returning.

Benefits-
Same as Bhujangasana.

TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA

TIRYAKA  BHUJANGASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-70: Tiryaka Bhujangasana

  • Assume the final position of basic bhujangasana.
  • Twist the upper portion of the trunk and head to one side and gaze at the heel of the opposite foot.
  • Then repeat in the other direction.
  • Twist the body up to 10 times on each side.

Benefits-
The benefits are the same as for bhujangasana, with increased influence on the intestines.
This asana is also used in shankhaprakashalana.

 

POORNA BHUJANGASANA

POORNA BHUJANGASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-71: Poorna bhujangasana (the full cobra pose)
Assume the posture for bhujangasana, bend the knees and try to touch the back of the head with the toes.
Breathing-

  • Inhale while rising into bhujangasana.
  • Exhale while touching the feet to the head.
  • Breathe normally in the final pose.

Limitations-
This variation is only for children or adepts with very supple backs.

 

SHALABHASANA

SHALABHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-72: Shalabhasana (The locust pose)

  • Lie on the stomach with hands under the thighs, palms facing downward.
  • Stretch the legs and tense the arms.
  • Raise the legs and abdomen as high as possible without bending the legs.
  • Practice up to 5 times.

Breathing-

  • Inhale deeply in the lying-down position.
  • Retain the breath inside while raising the legs and abdomen.
  • Exhale while returning to the starting position.

Concentration-
On the abdomen, lower back or heart.
Sequence-
Together with bhujangasana and dhanurasana.
Limitations-
This asana is not recommended for patients of peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or people with a weak heart.
Benefits-

  • This asana tones and adjusts the functioning of the liver and other abdominal organs, especially the intestines, pancreas, and kidneys.
  • It is very useful for relieving and eliminating diseases of the stomach and bowels, and it stimulates the appetite.
  • It strengthens the lower spine and heart, and tones the sciatic nerves.

 

ARDHA SHALABHASANA

ARDHA SHALABHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise- 73: Ardha shalabhasana (The half locust pose)

  • Lie flat on the stomach with the hands under the thighs, palms downward.
  • Keep both legs straight throughout the asana.
  • Raise one leg as high as possible, keeping the other leg flat on the floor.
  • Retain this position for some time and then lower the leg to the floor.
  • Allow the respiration to return to normal.
  • Repeat the same movement with the other leg.

Breathing

  • Inhale in the prone position.
  • Retain the breath inside while lifting the leg and in the final pose.
  • Exhale while returning to the starting position.
  • Breathe normally in the prone position.

This is a simplified form of shalabhasana for beginners or people who are unable to do the full pose.

POORNA SHALABHASANA

POORNA SHALABHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXERCISE-74: Poorna shalabhasana (the full locust pose)

  • Assume the final position of shalabhasana with the legs raised in the air as high as possible.
  • Jerk the legs up and balance on the shoulders, chin and arms.
  • Try to touch the head with the toes.
  • This final pose can be more easily attained by rhythmically swinging the legs up to progressively higher levels until the balance point is reached.
  • Maintain the final pose for a comfortable period of time.
  • Carefully return to the starting position.

Breathing-

  • Retain the breath inside while raising and lowering the body.
  • Breathe normally in the final position.

Limitations-
This difficult form of shalabhasana is only for people who are physically fit with very supple back’s.
Benefits-
This asana provides double benefits of shalabhasana along with many benefits of sirshasana also.

DHANURASANA

DHANURASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Execise-75: Dhanurasana (The bow pose)

  • Lie flat on the stomach and inhale fully.
  • Bend the knees and hold the ankles with the hands.
  • Tense the leg muscles and arch the back while simultaneously raising the head, chest and thighs as high as possible.
  • Keep the arms straight.
  • Hold the position for as long as is comfortable.
  • Practice up to 5 times.
  • One may rock backwards and forwards in the final position.
  • Do not repeat the asana until the breath returns to normal.

Breathing-
The breath may be retained inside in the final pose or slow, deep breathing may be practiced.

Concentration On the abdominal region or back.
Limitations-
Not to be practiced by people with hernia, peptic ulcers, intestinal tuberculosis or bent spine.
Benefits-

  • This asana powerfully massages the abdominal organs and muscles.
  • Removes gastro-intestinal disorders, dyspepsia, chronic constipation and sluggishness of the liver.
  • Quickly reduces fat in the abdominal area.

SARAL DHANURASANA

SARAL DHANURASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-76: Saral dhanurasana (The easy bow pose)

  • Assume the starting position of dhanurasana, lying flat on the stomach and holding the bent legs at the ankles, with the hands.
  • Relax the whole body.
  • Tense the legs and try to push the feet backward while raising the head and chest.
  • Do not try to raise the thighs off the ground.
  • Maintain the final pose for a comfortable period of time and then slowly return to the floor.
  • Repeat when the respiration rate returns to normal.

Breathing-

  • Inhale while lying on the ground.
  • Raise the body with the breath retained inside.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly in the final pose.
  • Exhale on returning to the floor.
  • This is a good asana for beginners or people with a stiff back who are unable to do dhanurasana.

Benefits-
The same as for dhanurasana but less effective.

 

POORNA DHANURASANA

POORNA DHANURASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-77: Poorna dhanurasana (the full bow pose)

  • Assume the same starting position as dhanurasana except that the hands hold the toes.
  • The fingers should be in contact with the top of the feet and the thumbs with the soles.
  • The method is the same as dhanurasana, except feet, legs, thighs, chest and head are raised much higher.
  • To attain greater height the arms must be moved first to the side, then above the shoulders.
  • Maintain the final pose for a short time and then return to the starting position.

Breathing-
As for dhanurasana.
Benefits-
The same as dhanurasana but with more intensity.
Do not repeat until the breath returns to normal. This difficult variation of dhanurasana should only be practiced by those people with supple backs.

GRIVASANA

GRIVASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-78: Grivasana (The neck pose)

  • Lie on the back with knees bent and heels by the buttocks.
  • Place the inverted palms on the ground by the temples.
  • Raise the trunk and place the top of the head on the ground.
  • Balance on the head and the feet.
  • Raise the arms, cross them and place them on the chest.
  • Retain the breath inside.

Duration-
Practice once for as long as the breath can be retained, or for long periods with normal breathing for curative purposes.
Concentratio
On the thyroid gland, neck or pelvic region.
Sequence-
Follow with a forward neck bending pose such as paschimottanasana.
Limitations-
Not for sufferers of high blood pressure, coronary diseases, amenorrhea, or people with weak necks.
Benefits-

  • This asana aligns the upper vertebrae.
  • In cases of late female puberty it helps to rectify the gonadal hor­monal block.
  • It helps treat leucorrhea and other female disorders.

KANDHARASANA

KANDHARASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-79: Kandharasana (The shoulder pose)

  • Lie flat on the back with the legs bent at the knees and the heels touching the buttocks.
  • Hold the ankles.
  • Raise the hips and arch the back, keeping feet flat on the floor.
  • Do not move the position of the feet or shoulders.
  • The body should be supported by the feet, neck, shoulders and arms.

Breathing-
Retain the breath inside when practising this pose.
Duration-
Repeat up to 10 times for general health or for long periods with normal breathing for curative purposes.
Concentration
On the abdominal region or thyroid gland.
Sequence-
Use as a counter pose to forward bending poses.
Limitations-
This asana is not to be performed by pregnant women.
Benefits-

  • This asana is useful to return displaced vertebral discs.
  • It stretches and massages the colon and other abdominal organs.
  • It also straightens round shoulders and relieves backache.
  • It is recommended especially for women who have a tendency
  • towards miscarriage as it tones the female sexual organs.
  • It is a good preparatory pose for chakrasana.

SETUASANA

SETUASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-80: Setuasana (The bridge pose)

  • Sit with the legs stretched forward.
  • Place the palms on the ground to the side, about one foot behind the hips.
  • The elbows should be straight, the fingers pointing backward and the torso slightly reclined.
  • Raise the hips and stretch the mid-section up­ward. Bend the head back.
  • Place the soles of the feet flat on the ground.
  • The legs should be straight.
  • After a comfortable time in the final position lower the hips to the ground.
  • Practice a maximum of 10 times.

Breathing-

  • Inhale while seated.
  • Retain your breath while raising, holding and lowering the body.
  • Exhale while returning to the ground.

Concentration-
On the back and abdomen.
Benefits-
This asana tones the lumbar region of the spine and the Achilles tendon behind the ankles.

SHIRSHA PADASANA

SHIRSHA PADASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-81: Sirsha padasana (The head and foot pose)

  • Lie in shavasana (the supine position).
  • Relax the whole body.
  • Now tense the body and raise the trunk so that the entire body is supported only on the head and feet.
  • The arms can be initially kept on the floor until balance is attained; then they should be placed on top of the body with the palms on the thighs.

Duration-

  • Hold for as long as you can comfortably retain the breath inside.
  • Do not strain.
  • Repeat up to 5 times.

Precautions-
Place a blanket under the head to prevent injury.

Not for people with high blood pressure or a weak heart.
Benefits-

  • The backward bending asana makes the spinal muscles strong and supple.
  • It stimulates the spinal nerves and encourages a fresh flow of blood to them.
  • The entire blood circulation is speeded up.
  • It strengthens the thigh, abdominal and neck muscles and is an excellent relaxation pose.

ARDHA CHANDRASANA

ARDHA CHANDRASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise- 82: Ardha chandrasana (The crescent moon pose)

  • Stand on the knees with legs together and arms by the side.
  • Step forward with the left leg.
  • Bend, and place the hands by the sides of the left foot, palms flat on the floor.
  • Stretch the right leg back and arch the back and neck upward.
  • In the final pose, only the feet, right knee and fingertips will touch the floor.
  • Practice 5 times.

Breathing-

  • Exhale while bending forward.
  • Inhale while arching the back.
  • Exhale again while returning to the kneeling position.

Concentration-
On the back or respiration.
Sequence-
Practice after forward bending asanas.
Benefits-
Limbers and strengthens the skeletal structure.
Variation-
This asana can also be performed by raising the arms over the head and stretching the head and upper trunk as far back as possible. This improves the exercise given to the whole back.

UTTHAN PRISHTHASANA

UTTHAN PRISHTHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-83: Utthan prishthasana (The lizard pose)

  • Lie flat on the stomach with the arms crossed under the lower chest while holding the biceps (upper arms).
  • The toes should be stretched, the head facing forward, with the body weight on the forearms.
  • The elbows should not move during the entire round.
  • Raise the trunk and hips so that you are supported by the knees and upper arms.
  • Stretch the torso backwards placing the chin and chest on the ground.
  • Return to the raised position and then to the lying position.
  • Practice a maximum of 10 times.

Breathing-

Inhale while raising the hips (twice during each round).
Exhale while lowering the hips (twice during each round).

Concentration-
On the back.
Sequence-
After a forward bending asana.
Benefits-
Exercises and strengthens the diaphragm and tones the entire back, especially the nerves and muscles.

CHAKRASANA

CHAKRASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-84: Chakrasana (the wheel pose)

  • Lie flat on the back with knees bent and the heels touching the hips with the feet about one foot apart.
  • Place the palms on the ground beside the temples, with fingers pointing towards the shoulders.
  • Slowly raise the trunk.
  • Let the head rotate slightly and allow the crown to support the weight of the upper body.
  • The legs will form right angles at the knees.
  • Straighten the arms and legs, lift the head off the ground and raise the body so that it is fully arched.
  • You can straighten the knees almost completely by moving the trunk upward.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the ground and then in to the supine position.

Breathing-

  • Initially practise chakrasana with the breath retained inside.
  • After some regular practice, chakrasana may be maintained for long periods by breathing normally in the fully raised position.

Duration-
Practice chakrasana once for as long as you can comfortably maintain it.
Concentration-
On the back, abdomen or respiration.
Sequence-
Always follow chakrasana with a forward bending counter pose.
Limitations-

  • Chakrasana should not be practiced by sufferers of high blood pressure, coronary ailments, stomach ul­cers, toxic intestines, partial deafness or dilated eye capillaries, or by anyone who has recently fractured bones or undergone abdominal operation.
  • It is not to be attempted until the practitioner is able to do the preliminary backward bending poses.

Benefits-

  • This asana is beneficial to the entire nervous and glandular system.
  • It influences all hormonal secretions and relieves varied ailments of the female reproductive system.
  • It fully stretches the back and abdominal muscles.
  • It powerfully compresses and massages the abdominal organs.

Variations-
After sufficient practice once you can perform this asana without even the slightest difficulty one can improve its effect by moving the hands and feet closer together in the final position. You may also try raising first one leg and then the other in the final pose.

PRISHTHASANA

PRISHTHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise-85: Prishthasana (The back pose)

  • Stand erect with the feet about 12 inches apart.
    Raise the arms over the head.
  • Slowly bend the trunk backward from the waist, simultaneously bending the legs so that the knees move forward.
  • Move the arms to the sides and reach down to grasp the ankles.
  • Then bend the head backwards and try to lower the head and back near to the floor.

This is easier if the toes point to the side.
Concentration-
On relaxing the back and maintaining balance.
Limitations-
Not for people with high blood pressure, coronary thrombosis, stomach ulcers or serious back ailments.
Benefits-

  • This asana stretches and tones the abdominal muscles and organs.
  • It removes stagnant blood from the back and strengthens the legs.
  • It stimulates and tones the spinal nerves and develops balance.

GOMUKHASANA

GOMUKHASANA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXERCISE-86: Gomukhasana (The cow face pose)

  • Assume a sitting position, legs out-stretched.
  • Fold the left leg and place the heel beside the right hip.
  • Fold the right leg over the top of the left leg so that the right heel is on the ground beside the left thigh. The knees should lie one above the other.
  • Place the left arm behind the back and the right arm over the right
  • shoulder while joining the fingers of each hand behind the back.
  • Make the trunk erect, hold the head back and close the eyes.
  • Repeat the process on the other side.

Breathing-
Deep, relaxed breathing will commence while the final posture is held.
Concentration-
On respiration.
Benefits-

  • Aids in the elimination of diabetes, backache, stiff shoulders and neck, and sexual ailments.
  • Stimulates the kidneys, alleviates sciatica and rheumatism, and develops the chest.

About Sharat S.

To keep my friends and readers Healthy, I love to write and share articles on Fruits, Vegetables, Yoga Exercise and more. Importantly, I always promote natural remedies to keep your body healthy.

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  1. Pingback: Standing and Bending Asanas are good for our health - Healthier You

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