BENGALURU: This pose translates as the upward facing dog and resembles a dog stretching its anterior body supported on its forelegs. (This is how dogs typically stretch- to keep fit)
STEPS: Lie down on the floor on your stomach (prone position). Next bring your hands (palms down) directly below the ribs with the thumbs tucked under the last two ribs, close to the stomach. Place your legs together and parallel to each other. Now push the floor with your hands and lift the upper body off the floor. Raise your head, shoulders, chest, pelvis as well as the thighs and knees off the floor. Your body will be balanced on your hands and toes. Now push the chest forward and raise your head towards the ceiling aching your neck to gaze upwards. The back of the neck will be contracted. Your arms will be completely straight. Tighten your gluteus maximus in the buttocks to relax and stretch the antagonist's muscles- the hip flexors and the quadriceps.
Hold the position for 15 seconds to a minute depending on your ability as you continue to breathe normally. Slowly lower yourself down bending your elbows. First, the knees and thighs followed by the pelvis, chest, shoulders and head will come down in the reverse order of lifting them up. After lowering yourself rest for a few minutes on your stomach with the elbows relaxed and the head turned sideways resting on the right or left cheek.
BENEFITS: This pose stretches the anterior body as well as the abdomen and is a good contraction for the back. This cures most back and spine ailments including a stiff back, backache, lumbago, sciatica and prolapsed discs. The Triceps are also stretched. The chest gets expanded. Blood circulation in the pelvic region is improved.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Avoid this pose if you have a ‘tennis elbow’, weak wrists or a shoulder injury.
– Anshu Vyas Seetharaman is a yoga and fitness trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru. (110 Gangadhara Chetty Road, Ulsoor) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)