1. Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana, Supta Eka Pada Pavan Muktasana & variations)
Type : Supine
Physical Benefits: Stretches and lengthens the lower back and keeps it limber. Opens the psoas. Reduces toxins and tensions. Relieves flatulence, acidity, constipation, bloating and indigestion. Counter-pose for backbends and spinal twists
Therapeutic Benefits : Calms the mind and rebalances your energy.
To be avoided if you are recovering from abdominal surgery or hernia. Also to be avoided if you have knee, spinal or hip injury. Place a blanket under head if you have cervical issues.
How to practice :
Lying on your back, inhale and on the exhale bend the right leg and draw your knee into your chest, bending the elbows outward, keeping the left leg straight and parallel to the floor with the foot flexed. Try to reduce the space between the floor and the back of your knee as much as possible on the extended leg. Breath fully for 4 breaths. Inhale and release on the exhale. Repeaton the left side.
Phase II : Bend both knees into the chest holding both tibias with both hands. Inhale and on the exhale hug knees further into the chest with chin towards the chest. Try keeping the sacrum firmly anchored to the floor. Hold for 4 deep breaths and release feet to the floor.
2. Abdominal Twist, variations (Jathara Parivrtti)
Type : Supine
Complimentary Postures : Salabhasana, Purvottanasana
Physical Benefits: Strengthens the hip flexors and abductors and releases the lower back. Strengthens core, especially the oblique muscles. Increases mobility in the chest, shoulders, hips, spine and lower back and alliviates stiffness. Realigns spinal discs. Helps to relieve toxins and metabolic waste.
Therapeutic Benefits : relieves stress and anxiety, re-energizes from fatique, relieves headache and migraine.
How to practice : Lie on your back. Bring your bended knees to the chest. Extend both arms out straight with palms facing towards the ceiling. Inhale and on the exhale try to bring your knees into your armpits, keeping both shoulders pinned to the floor and the abdomen soft. If there is no problem with the cervicals, turn your head to the opposite direction slowly. Breath fully for 4 breaths. Inhale and come back to center and repeat on the other side. Repeat again on each side. Return to center and pose both feet on the floor.
*Variation with the legs in Eagle posture (Eagle twists). With the arms stretched out in a T position, cross the left leg over the right and tuck the toes behind the right calf muscle. Let the legs fall to the right side of the body. Repeat on the other side.