Backbend Asanas for Strengthening the Spine

Our Associate Editor, Navodita, an expert on Yoga, talks of the variations of two important asanas, Ardha Viprit Naukasana and Dhanurasana. These strengthen the spine, making it supple and flexible. She also tells us how to calm our mind through meditation. Positive thoughts and Patanjali Yoga Sutras are beneficial. Read to know more, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

It’s that time of the week when you need to flex your muscles and strain your body to get into some yogic positions beneficial for the back and the waist. We have dealt with a few backbends to get you started, something to provide you agility and flexibility of movement.

Some asanas which are good for you are Ardha Naukasana and its variations and Dhanurasana and its variations.

Ardha Viprit Naukasana

Lie down on the floor on your stomach, bend the left arm and take it behind your back with the palm facing up. Stretch the right arm above the head. Exhale and while inhaling raise the right hand, head, chest and right leg above the ground. Breathe normally while you maintain the asana.

Inhale and while exhaling slowly release the shoulder, forehead, right arm, and leg on the floor. Return both hands on the side of the body and place the chin on the ground. Now repeat this with the left-hand side.

This asana works wonders for neck pain, asthma, and chest pain. It focuses on lower back, buttocks, and shoulders. It is also good for the entire spine.

Triyak Naukasana

This asana is good for those having a weak back as it stimulates the nerves. There is a strong diagonal stretch of the body which works wonders for the spine.

Once again lie down on the floor facing the floor. Bend the left arm and place it behind the back, palm facing up. Stretch the right arm above the head. Exhale and while inhaling raise the right arm, head, chest and left leg above the ground. Breathe normally while you maintain the asana.

Inhale and while exhaling lower the shoulder, forehead, right arm and left leg onto the floor. Return both hands to the side of the body and place the chin on the ground, returning to the normal position.

This asana works wonders for a stiff back and the spine.

Ardha Dhanurasana

This asana is good for an easy way to do the Dhanurasana and assists an obese person.

You have to start by lying down on the floor, face down. Bend the left leg and hold the ankle with the left hand. Stretch the right arm above the head. Exhale and while inhaling raise the left thigh, right arm, shoulder, head and chest above the ground.

Inhale and while exhaling lower the left knee, shoulders, and chin slowly to the ground. Release the ankle and bring the hands beside the body. Straighten the bent leg to the ground returning to the normal position. Now repeat this on the opposite side.

This asana is beneficial for the entire spine, buttocks, and shoulders. This helps one focus on chest, abdomen and lower back, too.

Similarly, Triyak Dhanurasana assists in keeping the back healthy.

Triyak Dhanurasana

Start by bending the left leg and holding the ankle with the right hand. Stretch the left arm above the head. Exhale and while inhaling raise the left thigh, left arm, head, shoulders and chest off the ground. Breathe normally.

Slowly come back into the usual position. While exhaling lower the chest, knee, shoulders and chin. Release the ankle and bring the hands to the side of the body. Straighten the bent leg to the ground. Now, practice this by lifting the right leg, holding the right leg with your left hand. Stay in that pose for about twenty seconds.

This works wonders for buttocks, shoulders, and spine.

At the end, lie down in Shava Asana. Breathe normally. Meditate while staying in the pose by focussing between your eyebrows.

Lastly, dwell on such positive thoughts that may lead you to peace, harmony, and success, here are some tips from the Patanjali Yoga Sutra:

  • For a few moments keep your body and eyes steady and you will see immediately, the mind will become so steady. If you stand still, the mind will become still and the breath will become steady. This is when the time stops, death stops and immortality begins. This is Samadhi.
  • Samadhi is that state where you feel you can stay like that for a million years. It is a state where the mind freezes. It is the secret of youthfulness, the secret of bubbling enthusiasm and the secret of renewal of life.
  • When you are in Samadhi, every experience of your senses becomes bright, colourful, and complete. When you are happy, you feel expanded. You feel an expansion is taking place. Samadhi is being sensitive to other’s feelings, too. Nature listens to you.
  • Patanjali says, “Ksheena Vritti.” When these five activities that we have dealt Awith before, when theseVrittis, the activities are subdued.
 ©Navodita Pande

Photos from the internet.

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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