Back bends have never come easy for me. I’ve struggled with them since the time I started practicing yoga. Every time I feel I’ve made some headway, I return to practice the next day and realize that was probably just a figment of my imagination.
The key to progress in yogasana is consistent practice. The key to progress in back bending is safe consistent practice. I’ve injured myself many times thinking that I should just ‘push through the pain’. I now wish I had taken the time to understand the anatomy of the spine and even focused on basic fundamental movements rather than being in a mad rush to conquer the more difficult asanas.
In retrospect I would have made my daily practice more introspective. How far can I push myself? Am I pushing myself enough? Is this a physical or a mental roadblock? Am I doing my best to extend the spine? Am I trying to proactively understand the pain, or letting my teacher do the work to figure it out? Am I trying my best to make progress, or repeating old patterns?
When we understand ourselves, we know what we need. Once we know what we need, we can work towards achieving it. This way, we can take care of ourselves. (Beyond Asanas, p 131)
Benefits of Ushtrasana
- Stimulates and massages the thyroid gland.
- Strengthens and stretches the back, shoulders and arms.
- Expands and brings flexibility to the chest so the practitioner’s breathing becomes smoother.
- Tones the abdominal organs.
- Reduces menstrual cramps.
- Improves posture and problems of curvature of the back.
(The above benefits taken from my book Beyond Asanas: The Myths and Legends Behind Yogic Postures.)
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Pragya Bhatt: https://www.instagram.com/yogawithpragya/