Basic yogasanas (part 8) (stretching and making the spine flexible )
Ardha-matsayendra asana and Paschimottanasana
Ardh Matsyendrasan (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
The Ardha-matsayendra asana derives its name from the great Yogi Sage Matsyendra. This asana known as the sitting half spinal twist rotates and thus exercises the spinal cord of the individual who performs this pose.
Way to execute:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched forward, while keeping your spine erect. Make sure your feet are together.
- Bend your left leg so that it rests on the ground, placing the foot beside the right buttock.
- Bend the right leg and place the foot on the ground over the left knee.
- Bring the left hand over the right knee and grab the ankle or the big toe of the right foot.
- Exhale and twist the trunk of the body as much as possible, turning the neck so the gaze is over the right shoulder.
- Keep the right palm on the ground towards the right side after the twist. This will help in supporting the spine and making sure it is comfortably erect. You can also encircle your waist with the right hand with the palm facing outwards.
- Maintain this position for as long as possible, while breathing normally.
- Breathe out and release the hand behind you, then your waist and then neck and then your legs. Sit up straight and relax.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Makes spine supple, flexible and increases its range of motion.
- Massages your abdominal organs, detoxify your liver and kidneys, and also improves digestion.
- Strengthens and stretches your abdominal muscles and hip rotators.
- Opens the chest and increases the oxygen supply to the lungs
Note: You should avoid practicing this asana during pregnancy or degenerated disks or even in case of spinal arthritis.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward bend)
Known as the seated forward bend, the pashimottanasana that translates as paschim = west, uttana = stretched out, asana = pose is one of the yoga poses that stretches and strengthens the entire back muscles.
Way to execute:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Make sure your spine is erect and toes flexed towards you.
- While inhaling raise up your arms above your head.
- Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, trying to move your chin towards your toes
- Stretch your arms towards your toes and grab the big toe. Then gradually go forward while grasping the toes and hold the heels of your toes. (You can also bend your knees a little in the starting).
- Release after 20-25 seconds by raising up your head and sitting up straight while inhaling.
- You can repeat the process 2 to 3 times.
Benefits of paschimottanasana
- Besides the back muscles, it also stretches the hamstrings.
- It elongates the spine.
- Pashimottanasana massages and tones the abdominal and all digestive organs.
- This asana improves digestion and relieves sciatica pain.
- Pashimottanasana energizes the nervous system and improves concentration.
Note: avoid practicing the asana in case of pregnancy