Backbends strengthen your back, shoulders, chest, and hips.
In the earlier part of this series, we explored various sitting and standing postures in yoga. From now on we are exploring a few back-bending postures.
Matsyasana: (Fish Pose)
By practicing this asana regularly, the perfection of the Padmasana posture gets easier. It also improves lung capacity-very useful in treating lung disorders.
Method: Sit in Padmasana. While exhaling gently lie down on the back (taking the support of the hands) still with the legs held in the crossed position. The knees should be touching the ground. Breathe five times. Hold the toes with the hands of the respective sides.
Urdhva Dhanurasana-(urdhva= above/upwards, dhanu-bow)
This asana will strengthen the back and the Sacrospinalis muscles will be strengthened. (Sacrospinalis muscles, also known as Erector Spinae muscles, extend from the pelvis to the skull in the back).
Improves the gait, imparts majesty and ultimately grace to other postures. This is useful in assuming all the postures, including the basic ones like ardhasuchi. The asana increases the respiratory amplitude also. Consequently, breathing becomes easier even in difficult postures preventing exhaustion.
Method: Lie down on the back. Place the palms on the ground on either side of the neck .Fold the legs at the knees bringing the feet closely adjoining the hips. Inhale and exhale a few times. While exhaling lift the body supported on the limbs (they are now stretched) so that, the whole body forms an arch. Take five breaths in this position. While exhaling bring the body down and relax.
Note: This is not an easy posture and has to be learnt under the supervision of a teacher.
Application: As a routine excersice, this is indispensible. Some of the karanas like argala karana and gangavatharana need these types of practises. The posture depicts Universe in Bharatanatya.