Complimentary posture : Child’s pose (Balasana)
Justification : Backbend
Physical benefits : Increases flexibility in the spine. Stretches the abdominal organs and fascias. Opens the shoulders, chest and quadriceps. Strengthens the back and stimulates the nervous system and the thyroid. Improves digestion.
Therapeutic benefits : Brings on a joyful mood and boosts energy. Relieves stress and anxiety. Extremely beneficial heart chakra opener.
Limitations: To be avoided if you are recovering from abdominal sugery or if have issues in the cervical spine, a discal hernia, lumbar lordosis, sciatica or arthritus in the solicitated zones. Not recommended for people who have high blood pressure, migraines or insomnia.
How to Practice : (Using the wall)
Fold your mat in half or in four and place it against the wall. Place both of your knees, hip width apart, as flush to the wall as possible, keeping the fronts of your thighs and hip bones firmly pressed into the wall. The feet should be in line with the shin bones and not rolling in or out. To keep the foot aligned you can put a brick between the two feet at the heel level and firmly press into it with the heels. Place your thumbs on your sacrum and forefingers into the small of your back and roll your shoulders back opening up the chest and bringing the elbows together. Inhale and lift the sternum while lengthening the spinal column towards the ceiling while bringing your coccyx towards your knees, pinning the front hips and thighs against the wall. Let your hands find your heels or the bricks next to your feet and let the head drop back gently. Arch the upper back, in between the shoulder-blades to move the dorsal spine towards the sternum. This is the only place where your back should be engaging in the ‘backbend’ ! Breathe 5-6 breaths. Do not let the posture seize your breath ! To come back, lift from your outer rib-cage in an ascensional manner placing the thumbs once again onto the sacrum for support and bring your forehead to the wall and on the exhale let the buttocks rest on the heels. Repeat 2 more times.
Note : This is a variation of what is considered an intermediate to advanced posture- so please practice it with the utmost respect and care.