Basic yogasanas (part 9) (exercising the back muscles)
Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana
Bhujangasana or the cobra pose:
Our back muscles usually do not get much exercise in our daily activities and therefore the tendency of getting back aches and posture defect increases. In order to avoid this, we must practice Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose, which is one of the best yogasana for strengthening the back muscles. This asana resembles a hood raised serpent or a cobra, hence the name bhujanga(cobra)-asana.
Way to execute:
- Lie down with your belly on the ground, your toes touching together and your hands lying on the side and Place your face on the ground looking straight in such a manner that your chin touches the ground.
- Bring your hands to the shoulder level with your palms touching the ground.
- Place your toes and palms firmly on the ground.
- Slowly raise your trunk and head, by pressing your palms on the floor. Make sure the arms are bent at the elbows.
- Take normal breaths while in this position, you can also arch your neck slightly backwards only if you can do it comfortably.
- You should hold this asana for a few seconds in the beginning. You can go up to two minutes as you progress.
- Release the asana by resting your trunk back on the ground, hands on the side and forehead resting on the ground. You can repeat the asana again.
Benefits of Bhujangasana
- Bhujangasana strengthens the lower back and shoulders, increases the flexibility of the spine and the spinal muscles.
- This asana tones the digestive organs, the lower abdomen and the reproductive organs as well.
- It improves blood circulation.
- This asana is very beneficial for people suffering with asthama.
Note: avoid doing this asana in cases of pregnancy or if you had undergone an abdominal surgery or you suffer with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
Dhanurasana or the bow pose:
Another yogasana meant to exercise the back muscles is the Dhanurasana. Because this asana takes the shape of a bow, it is therefore called dhanurasana or the bow pose, (Dhanur aka bow).
Way to execute:
- Lie down flat on your belly with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the side of your body. Relax and breathe normally.
- Exhale and bend your knees backwards, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks.
- Arch your head and neck upwards and backwards. Reach back with your hands and hold your ankles to complete the asana.
- Then inhale deeply and pull up your legs with your hands. Expand your chest, arching your head and trunk backward and upwards. While in this position, your body shape will look like a bow.
- Hold the asana for as long as possible.
- Slowly release by letting go of the lower legs and bringing the legs, trunk and head to the original supine position, while exhaling.
- Repeat the pose if comfortable.
Benefits of Dhanurasana:
- This asana not only strengthens the back and abdominal muscles, but also make them flexible.
- Dhanurasana stimulates the reproductive organs and the digestive organs too.
- It opens up the chest, neck and shoulders and tones the leg and arm muscles.
- This is one of the best asanas for those suffering with renal disorders as well as for those with diabetes.
- Dhanurasana is also recommended for correcting the stooping of the back.
Note: avoid practicing this asana in case you have a high or low blood pressure, neck injury, headache or migraine.