This pose may not seem so comfy or one that will allow for a quick snooze, but it offers a tremendous opening, with ease, when done supported.
This pose is like supta virasana, and requires flexibility in the knees and ankles. If you are unable to do virasana, then the pose can be done with the legs extended, the legs in baddha konasana or the legs in sukhasana.
Prior to doing the pose it is good to do a few gentle twists in order to prepare the spine for arching backward. If you have a great deal of stiffness in your spine, then do other simple back-arches to warm up.
Sit in virasana with your pelvis on the floor. Place a bolster horizontal to your spine. The bolster or blanket platform should be 6-10″ tall, or enough to elevate your thoracic spine in such a way that you achieve a dome shape in your upper trunk.
As you recline, be sure that the prop is under your shoulder blades, not the middle of your back. The arch should resemble the fish pose (matsyasana).
As you recline pin your shoulder blades away from your ears, trapping them on the bolster so that your entire upper body is wedged upward. Be sure that your head stays in contact with the floor. Should your head float, then support it with a blanket.
With your hands clasped into your elbows, extend your elbows toward the wall behind you and down toward the floor. However the elbows need not be on the floor.
Stay for 2-3 minutes.
The pose can be done without the prop support. in the unsupported version, be sure that you weight bear on the mid line of the skull. In both versions the pelvis does not leave the floor.
- This pose opens the lungs and chest and is a good preparation for pranayama
- It helps with lymph drainage, as the lymph flows from abdomen into the chest and supports lymph drainage under the collar bones
- It benefits the thyroid and parathyroid as the anterior neck spine is stretched and toned
- It benefits the vocal cords, throat and tongue, as this area is fully stretched
- It stretches the respiratory diaphragm and actively stretches the abdominal organs
- It stretches the feet, quadriceps and ilio-psoas.
This pose is beneficial for asthma, lung conditions, shallow breathing, depression, low blood pressure, chronic fatigue and kyphosis.