Intense Workout for the Back with Asanas

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Our expert, Navodita, tells us about two asanas. Kapota Asana tones up the entire spinal region as the blood is made to circulate well around the spinal column. Since the pelvic region is stretched, the genital organs keep . The diaphragm is lifted up and this massages the heart gently and helps to strengthen it. The chest expands fully. It is essential to master this pose before moving on to the more difficult back-bending poses. She tells us about two variations of Viprit Dandasana. These poses tone the spine and extends the chest fully. The abdominal muscles are exercised and this exhilarating pose soothes the mind. She ends it with Dhyan. Here’s more about these, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

Having bent your body into some of the basic warm up poses, let’s get started with an intense workout for the back with the Kapota Asana and the Viparit Dandasana.

Kapota Asana

Kapota means a dove or a pigeon. In this pose, the chest expands and puffs out like that of a pouter pigeon, hence the name.

Sit in Vir Asana on a folded blanket. Stand on your knees and sit down on the floor. Recline back on the blanket and do Supta Vir Asana. Stretch the arms over the head, bend the elbows and place the palms near the ears, the fingers pointing to the shoulders. Bear the weight on the palms and exhale. Stretch the arms and raise the whole body from the knees by stretching the thighs and then join the knees. Contract the buttocks, stretch the entire spine, bend the elbows and hold the toes behind your head. Then rest the elbows on the floor. Breathing will be very fast and labored as the diaphragm is fully contracted. Take a few quick breaths, exhale, and raise the pelvic region by tightening the muscles of the thighs. Gradually bring the hands near the heels and catch them by bringing the head towards the feet. Now place the crown of the head on the soles of the feet.

Stay in this pose for about twenty seconds. The pose tones up the entire spinal region as the blood is made to circulate well round the spinal column. Since the pelvic region is stretched, the genital organs keep healthy. The diaphragm is lifted up and this massages the heart gently and helps to strengthen it. The chest expands fully. It is essential to master the Kapota Asana before mastering the more difficult back-bending poses.

Now yet another warm up pose for the backbends- the Viparita Dandasana.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Dwi Pada means both feet. Viparita means reverse or inverted. Danda means staff or rod, a symbol or authority or punishment as well as the body and its prostration. The prostrates himself before the Lord in this graceful inverted arch described below.

Lie flat on the back. Extend the arms over the head, bend the elbows and place the palms underneath the shoulders, fingers pointing to the feet. Also bend and raise the knees, bring the feet near the hips and rest them on the floor. Exhale and at the same time lift up the head and trunk and rest the crown of the head on the floor. Take a few breaths. Exhale, extend the legs, straighten them one by one bearing the weight on the hands, head and neck. Take both the hands behind the head, one by one, first the left, then the right one. Interlock the fingers and rest the cupped hands against the back of the head. This is the final position. The diaphragm being contracted, breathing will be fast and short. Take a few breaths, exhale and raise the shoulders as high as you can above the floor, as also the chest, trunk, hips, thighs, and calves. Stretch the legs straight from the pelvis to the ankles. Dig the heels into the floor and stay in this position to your capacity from one to two minutes. Move the feet towards the head, bend the knees, release the finger lock, raise the head from the floor, lower the trunk and relax.

Ek Pada Viparita Dandasana

Eka means one and Pada a leg or foot. This is an advanced of the previous pose. After going into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, exhale and lift the leg up vertically while keeping the right leg on the floor. Stay in this pose for about ten to twenty seconds. Then with an exhalation, repeat the pose, keeping the right leg perpendicular to the floor.

Come back to Viparita Dandasana and then relax on the floor. The pose tones the spine and extends the chest fully. The abdominal muscles are exercised and this exhilarating pose soothes the mind.

After this strenuous yoga workout, relax and do some meditative breathing or simple Pranayama. Follow it up with some mindful Dhyan focusing on life positive:

  • Lord Krishna said in Bhagwad Gita, ‘This world is temporary, changing; there is no joy in it.’
  • Having attained this world, turn towards me. Don’t keep looking for joy there. Be in it and yet not be immersed in it. One should live like the lotus leaf. The leaf is in water, untouched, unattached. Live like the leaf in the world which is miserable, with a smile.
  • How can you be in a so-called miserable world? When you are not attached to things around you, when you don’t take the world inside your head. You can be in the world but the world should not be inside you.
  • There are people who just get frustrated and run away from the world. They don’t get any bliss. Many recluses do that, but no. the real skill of yoga is being in it and yet not be affected by it. This is the skill that one has to learn.
  •  You have to get rid of cravings and aversions one by one. There is a tradition in India, that when you make a pilgrimage to Banaras, you have to leave something that you love, you do this when you are above fifty years of age so that you don’t carry those impressions till your head. If you are so fond of eggplant, you may land up inside an eggplant, so give it up as that is the path of liberation. This is just a worldly way of achieving detachment.

©Navodita Pande

Photos from the internet. 

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande has been practicing yoga since she was 9 years old in Iyengar Yoga. In April 1995, she performed at the International Yoga Seminar. In January 2003, Navodita taught at Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir in New York. Navodita had a Yoga show on NDTV 24x7 and was also the official yoga trainer for Miss Delhi contestants in 2007. She currently teaches Yoga and Reiki to
people in Kanpur.
Navodita Pande
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