This wonderful backbend massages the organs in your chest and abdomen, preventing and relieving many common problems, such as asthma, poor digestion, constipation, and kidney and liver ailments. Don’t attempt to lift up too high at first—or too quickly. Allow the movement to gently stretch your spine, one vertebra at a time, as you assume the pose.
- Lie face down, forehead on the floor, arms at your sides, palms up. Keep your feet and legs together.
- Bring your hands under your shoulders, fingers pointing toward each other. Contract your buttocks and thighs.
- Exhale completely. Inhale as you slowly raise your head and chest, lifting your spine one vertebra at a time. As you begin the upward movement, use primarily your back strength, not that of your arms, to help you lift. Then, as you continue to lift higher, press your hands into the floor. Come up only as high as comfortable, keeping your elbows bent if necessary. Keep your navel as close to the floor as possible. This will increase the stretch in the lower back. Look forward, or, if comfortable, tilt your head back and look up. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds, breathing normally.
- Now exhale as you slowly come down in reverse order, again one vertebra at a time, lowering your abdomen, chest, then forehead to the floor. Repeat 1 to 2 times.
- To conclude, bring your arms to your sides, palms up, turn your head to one side, and relax.
- You can hold the pose with straight arms if it is comfortable. However, remember that if you experience any discomfort, bend your elbows and lower your torso until you can hold the pose comfortably.
- While holding the pose, move your rib cage forward and up to increase the stretch in your spine.
- Contract your leg and buttock muscles, pressing them down firmly to give the pose a firm foundation and to help you increase the backbend in your upper spine.
Choose one or more of the following:
- Rather than having your feet together, try separating your legs slightly. This will be less stress for your lower back.
- Look straight ahead, or tilt your head down instead of back, while coming into the pose and while holding it.
- Don’t hold the pose.
- Strengthens the back and buttocks
- Helps relieve stiffness and tension in the back and neck
- Helps ease minor back pain
- Aids digestion and eases constipation
- Helps relieve asthma symptoms
- Helps ease menstrual disorders and tones the reproductive system
- Massages the liver and kidneys