Posted in Ashtangs and vinyasa, Yoga School Rishikesh, Yoga schools in rishikesh

Physiology of Back bending poses

BACK BEND  – By Yogi Chetan Mahesh

Effects on the Muscular System

  • Muscles: strengthening and stretching muscles on the front side of the body; pelvic region, thighs.
  • They are rejuvenating. They encourage youthfulness by keeping the spine supple. They stretch and tone the abdominal region and remove stress from these muscles.
  • They strengthen the legs, especially the thighs.
  • Bhujangasana is particularly strengthening for the muscles that cause spinal extension – the erector spine and the smaller semispinalis, multifidus and rotators muscles that connect the bony processes of individual vertebrae.

Effects on the Respiratory System

  • They increase the lung capacity as they invite an opening of thoracic cavity and flex the chest.
  • They are a strong stretching position for the front of the body. They extend the diaphragm/ solar plexus region and free the nerves of tension. An open chest allows us to breathe fully and properly and therefore improve our energy, so you are alert and comfortable more of the time.
  • purna dhanurasana - perfect bow pose

Effects on the Endocrine System

  • The endocrine glands in the front of the body are stimulated – The pancreas which secretes hormones for carbohydrate metabolism, the thymus which regulates immune function and the adrenals which influence our general state of alertness and arousal. Adrenals glands became balanced which is responsible for fight or flight reactions.
  • In backbending asanas like bow pose (dhanurasana) and urdhvadhanurasana the adrenal glands are activated/balanced. It is the hormone adrenalin, produced by the supra-renal glands on top of the kidneys which gives us the drive, the will, the intent to succeed in life.

Effects on the Nervous System

  • The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated.
  • Stimulation increases mental activity.
  • They stimulate the spinal nerves by stacking one vertebra on the next. This action helps the nerves system to send clear messages by working the spine area. It also encourages blood flow to the spine.

Effects on the Digestive System

  • Backbends increase the activity of jathari agni, (digestive fire) which helps to burn and eliminate toxins from the physical and subtle bodies.
  • Activates intestine, digestive glands, increase peristaltic movements of intestine helps to release constipation and improve hunger.

 Effects on the Circulatory System

  • They increase circulation of the blood and the lymphs in different parts of the body and removes congestion.
  • Bow pose increases blood flow in internal organs while massaging at same time.
  • Wheel pose increases circulation throughout the body by stretching and by gravitational pull.

General Effects

  • Releases tension in the shoulders, chest and hips and increases flexibility in them.
  • Backbends increase heat in the body and are extrovert in nature.
  • They slow down degeneration of the spine – and increase flexibility in the spine.

Therapeutic Applications

  • Combats depression
  • Asthma
  • Constipation
  • purna ustrasana - perfect camel pose

Yogic Physiology

  • Effects on chakras
  • Visshudi (thyroid gland)
  • Anahata (thymus)
  • Manipura (pancreas)
  • Svadisthana (adrenals)
  • In terms of distribution of prana, samana, vayu, and vyana vayu are stimulated by backbends.

Author – Yogi Chetan Mahesh
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