Benefits Of Prone Postures In Yoga:
In a yoga practice, prone postures are one of the transitional movements between one asana and another. It is a position suitable for everyone, both beginners and advanced level yogis. Oftentimes, these positions offer the ability to relieve tension in the back, involving muscles of the abdomen, shoulders, chest and arms. Let’s further investigate these positions and the benefits of prone postures in yoga.
One of the main purposes of prone posture in yoga is to lengthen the back, drawing it in the opposite direction of the usual curvature. Postures such as Bhujangasana (serpent pose) is said to help aide in back ache relief, keeping the spine elastic and strong. Other touted benefits of prone postures include:
- relieving pain from sciatica,
- herniated disc,
- neck pain,
- digestive disorders,
- regulate metabolism,
- tone buttocks,
- help relieve stress,
- hip support,
- and to improve spinal disorders (such as hyper-kyphosis).
In addition, believed to help improve issues such as amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, and to regularize the menstrual cycle. It also tones and regulates the activity of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands.
Key Tips When Performing Prone Asanas:
Respect and understand your limits. It’s essential to stay consistent and challenge yourself, but not essential to force things. If you feel shaking while holding the position, it may indicate discomfort, return to the starting position. Over time you will realize your progress.
Bend backwards as long as your body allows it. Furthermore, ensure that the bend curve is uniform along the entire length of the back. Relax the lower back. In addition, do not bring your head back when bending if you feel as though it’s straining. It’s perfectly fine to have a forward facing gaze.
Slow Controlled Movements:
Once you have returned to a starting position, allow yourself time to relax for a few seconds lying on the mat before proceeding with the practice.
Utilize support when needed. You may need to invest or dedicate a blanket or cushion under the hips to create additional padding for comfort.
Train Opposite As Well:
If you keep a prone posture in yoga for extended times during a recent routine, it’s useful to perform a counter position. Like exercising or strength training in general, it’s important not to neglect certain parts of the body. Because prone position are mostly backbends, don’t neglect it’s counterpart, forward bends. Be uniform in your practice.
Contraindications To Prone Positions:
Although yoga is a relatively safe practice (as long as your are respecting your limitations), contraindications exist. As far as prone asanas are concerned, be especially mindful if you are;
- have any acute injury or pressure in your lumbar region;
- significant pain or discomfort in the elbows, shoulder or neck;
- carpel tunnel syndrome.
Common Prone Postures In Yoga:
- Lye prone on the mat;
- Your arms should be positioned close to the body, hands at level of the shoulders, legs behind with top of the feet on the mat;
- Then, squeeze the shoulder blades;
- Inhale, then exhale. On the next inhale press into the fingertips and foundation of the body;
- Chest should open, lifting slowly to comfort.
In addition, you should not be using your arms to lift in totality. This position offers the ability to gain strength in the lower back.
Upward Dog Pose
- Oftentimes, this pose is transitioned into from Downward Facing Dog, to High Plank, then Upward facing dog.
- As you transition, the tops of the feet should remain on the mat. Stabilizing the body with the arms, press into the mat. Arms should extend or have a slight bend.
- Hips and torso elevate off the mat, bringing the chest upward and out.
- Finally, hold this pose for a few breath cycles.
Bow pose is a great backbend pose, which has emphasis on balance.
- Begin on the belly.
- Reach back with your hands for the tops of the feet.
- Then, relax the chin on the floor, while still holing the feet. Oftentimes, beginners are challenged with continuing to hold the feet. Try a strap for more comfort.
- Inhale, exhale. On the next inhale, relax the glutes allowing the belly to expand.
- On exhale, kick back into the feet. Simultaneously, lifting your line of sight.
When done safely and correctly, prone postures are irreplaceable in a yoga routine. “Belly-Down” postures, oftentimes, allow the practitioner an opportunity to open the chest. Moreover, an opportunity to build strength in the lower back, abdominals and glutes.