Shammi's Yogalaya

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Ardha Navasana

Method

  • Lie down on your back with your spine glued to the floor, especially the lower back; absolutely no gap between the lower back and the floor
  • Keep your legs together; arms resting by the side of your body
  • Keep lower part of your body fixed in position by sliding the heels out (heels are pressed on the floor while sliding) and flexing the toes in; the calves & the thighs should be fixed on the floor too(heels may slightly get off the floor now)

XP1

  • Make firm fists of your hands and start sliding your hands down on the floor while keeping the shoulders pressed against the floor
  • Maintain the firmness of your arms; with inhalation, raise it up towards the ceiling (push shoulders blades against the floor during this movement); in the process of raising your arms, tuck your tummy into your spine. It is crucial to engage your abs to be able to raise your arms up towards the ceiling. In other words, your abdominal pressure is pushing your arms off the floor.
  • Now stretch your arms above your head on the floor; by this time, you should feel your ribs stretching apart and lower abdomen getting sucked into the spine
  • Now stretching the arms firmly behind your head (feel the involvement of the sides of the mid-section along with complete involvement of your shoulder blades and armpits), raise your arms above your head and your shoulders off the floor (approx. 30 degrees). Make sure to get into this position by forcefully tucking your tummy into the ground
  • Hold your tummy tight, raise your legs 30 degrees off the floor
  • Look at the ceiling, your chest should be parallel to the floor and facing the ceiling
  • Holding the stretch in your arms, gradually bring them in front of you ,shoulder width apart and parallel to the floor, toes are stretched out too
  • Breathing will be tiresome but do not hold your breath
  • Release the posture in reverse order as slowly as possible (releasing slowly will be the real test)

Note: If you are able to engage your body in the way explained, your whole body will begin to quiver in just 10 seconds and you will end the posture with loud ‘Ahhh’ sound. If at all, you feel any kind of stress on your neck or lower / middle back, you have failed to involve your pelvis in full.

A simple way to check your pelvis engagement

If at all your body is not ready for performing Ardha Navasana, you can use other simple movements

  1. Walk for 5 minutes and concentrate on your movement from your pelvis rather than your legs. Focus as if the legs are coming out of your tummy to propel the movement. It might sound weird but such five minute’s walk will really make your feel your pelvis like never before.
  2.  Lie down on the floor, bend your knees, heels are close to your hips and arms are by the side of your body. Inhale, as you begin to exhale, start tucking your tummy into the spine as much as possible as if you are trying to touch the floor with your tummy, then slide and lift the locked tummy into the chest. This will raise your chest up and throw your ribs apart. Try to get your hips together by squeezing it. During the whole process, your whole spine is in firm contact with the floor. Hold this posture for few seconds and release with inhalation. This is called Tadagi Mudra in which you are working with Bandhas by holding your breath. Repeat for five times.

Benefits

Strong Core

Ardha Navasana is one of the most recommended asanas for targeting the strengthening of your core region. If the correct process is followed and the right muscle groups are engaged, one would, ideally, feel the intensity of the involvement of the core.  A ‘shivering’ sensation in the core is the definitive clue of the same. It not only makes your core strong but also helps get rid of the stubborn fat in that area to bring a toned core – the much coveted six abs.

Strong Back

Core & Back are treated as one unit during the practice of this asana. Hence, the engagement of the core is bound to engage your lower back muscles as well as the gluteal muscles. This will make the foundation of your back strong and keep lower back related ailments at bay despite having desk bound job.

Strong Chest & Neck

The posture, also requires an active engagement of your chest and the neck region. In the process of holding the posture, your pectoralis muscles are strengthened, the neck become strong enough to correctly bear the burden of being on your electronic gadgets all day long.

Improves Lung Capacity

Breathing does become labored and difficult during this posture assumption. Your breathing becomes shallow. Still, the effort put into breathing in and out works on improving your lung capacity and makes our respiratory organ strong.

Contraindications

  • Do not perform in case of back pain, as you may not be able to fully engage your back due to its tenderness and may end up hurting yourself
  • Avoid in case of neck injury  
  • Avoid in case of any kind of heart problem
  • Pregnant women should not perform this posture
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