OH MY (not this) ASANA!

I have a very tight back and shoulders so no guesses as to which is my most would-rather-not-do asana – URDHVA DHANURASANA! Aiyo ….

When I first started doing this – 1) I could hardly push myself up 2) my arms were bent 3) i didn’t have enough leg strength to help me stay up so I plop down after 1 second! 4) my back just hurt so much. 6 months down the road, my legs are strong enough to help me stay up, my back isn’t pain anymore (as with backbends, I was taught at 200hrs yttc that you breathe through your chest and not use your lumbar spine to push you up) but I still struggle to stay up for very long. I look more like a wheel now tho ☺. Just one thing – I wish my arms were so straight I could stack them below my shoulders and my chest would face the wall eventually lean against it and then one day I can hopefully raise my right leg up and then my left leg – #practiceandalliscoming.

Let me share the technique to get into a beautiful wheel:

Instructions:
1. Come to lie on the back
2. Bend the knees, bringing the soles of the feet parallel on the mat close to the buttocks.
3. Bend the elbows and bring the palms of your hands underneath your shoulders with the fingertips pointing towards your feet.
4. Inhale and press down into the palms as you lift the hips up off the floor.
5. Bring the crown of your head to the mat. Pause here for a moment as you make sure that the elbows are staying parallel and not splaying out to the sides.
5. Straighten the arms as you lift the head off the floor.
6. Make sure to keep the legs parallel.9. Reach the chest towards to wall behind you.
7. Begin to straighten the legs.
8. To come down, tuck the chin into the chest and lower down slowly.
9. Rest, allowing the knees to knock together.

Beginners:
1. Take the hands a little wider before you push up.
2. Try the pose at the wall. Take two blocks and place them leaning on the wall at 45 degree angles.
3. Put each hand on a block. Have someone stand behind you and hold their ankles instead of putting the hands on the floor.

Advanced: Lift one leg at a time straight up to the ceiling.

Benefits:
1. Expands your chest and shoulders.
2. Stretches you hip flexors and core musculature.
3. Stretches your wrist flexor muscles.
4. Strengthens the muscles that control your shoulder blades.
5. Stengthens your gluteus muscles of your hip and hamstrings at the back of your thighs.
6. Strengthens your low back musculature.
7. Therapeutic for asthma, opening the accessory muscles of breathing.
8. Traditionally thought to stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, counteract depression and aid in infertility.

Contrindications:
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or tendonitis of the wrist
2. Low Back pain aggravated by extension
3. Shoulder impingement
4. High Blood pressure
5. Headache

My advice is to warm up your thoracic spine with eight rounds of the Cat-Cow Pose. Then do three rounds of Surya Namaskar A, followed by a simple lunge in which you emphasize pressing the back thigh up toward the ceiling as you drop your tailbone toward the floor (Anjaneyasana). Next, do three rounds of Surya Namaskar B. This short sequence will begin to open your chest, shoulders, and hip flexors. To stretch the quadriceps and imprint the parallel orientation of the legs (so your legs don’t flare in Urdhva Dhanurasana), sit in a modified version of Virasana (Hero Pose), with the thighs parallel, and the knees and thighs hip-distance apart. From here, place your arms in Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) position to continue opening your shoulders.

So my strive to perfection of this pose continues … 100 backbends every day for the rest of my life it is! ☺

Xoxo
Yogi Glam (aka Samantha Dorai)