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Badhra Vakrasana Sit through on your way to health edit button Edit

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A.D Pradeep Kumar | calendar 03 March 2024 | 60

The Financial Express January 2000

Gorakshanatha, the great Siddha Yogi who lived nearly a thousand years ago revived and revitalised many classic yoga asanas. One of them, called Bhadrasana or throne pose, is of interest to the yoga student for the benefits and for the scholar for the interesting anecdotes associated with this asana.

It is told that Gorakshanatha had to sit out in the cold on high hills and mountains and avoid coming in contact with the cold, freezing ground, he invented this posture of the upturned heel. This is one posture in sitting which particularly impacts the pelvic organs, the groin, the thigh and the sex organs. This also exercises the unused or less-used muscles of the thigh and the sex organs favourably. Though technically the throne pose is of two types, i.e., the simple and complicated, for your daily yoga practise the simple variant is enough.

Bhadrasana involves sitting on the floor with the soles of the feet together. The thighs, the knees, the calves all rest against the floor. The sadhaka is ideally supposed to sit on his feet (in Gorakshana). But mostly the heels touch just the perenium (private parts). But this position may be difficult because of the stiff hips and knees. The practise of the simple variant helps loosen these joints.

To do Bhadrasana, sit with legs fully stretched out. Now draw both the legs near to the body, keeping the legs in contact with the floor, with the knees bent outward and the soles of the feet together. With the abdomen controlled, inhale. Then bring the feet with the toes pointing outwards, close to the generative organ, the heels touching the perineum very closely. Retain the breath, place the hands on the respective knees pressing them down, palms outward, and hold the pose for 10 seconds. Exhale and return to the starting position the legs stretched out. Repeat without pause, remembering always to keep the upper part of the body and the neck erect.

In the variation, when the final position is reached gently flap the knees up and down. The soles of the feet are placed together like wings of a butterfly. In course of time the hips loosen and it will be possible to do Bhadrasana easily.

Adjust the movements as follows

1)	draw the heels close to pernium, inhalation three seconds.
2)	maintain pose, hold the breath, 10 seconds.
3)	stretch the legs to original position, exhalation, two seconds. Repeat four movements in a minute.

In simple Bhadrasana the outward bend of the knees aids extreme stretching of both the superficial and deep muscles of the inner side of thigh and more especially of the interior of pelvis. It also effects ligaments of the urogenital region, besides exercising the joints of the lower extremities. This asana stretches the ligaments and muscle fibres of the thighs, hips and calf muscles, which are rarely used by sedentary people. During pregnancy, ligaments of hips become loose and women can sit in this position quite easily. Unfortunately, after childbirth few women continue this practice and their hips become stiff again.

Bhadrasana should be eventually done in a static state once the final posture is reached.

Even when you are not doing yoga exercises , you can do it whenever you get time. For example, while watching TV, rather than passively letting the feet go, you can sit in this position so that it can help stretch the unused muscle fibres. This will help you to utilise even the time spend on watching TV. To be truly majestic, one needs dignity and grace.

The throne pose helps imbibe the patience and fixity of a monarch sitting on a throne with an equanimous mind.

Bhadrasana has a fixed base which does not allow fidgetiness and restlessness. One needs stability of mind, which is the cornerstone of yoga. It is the foundation of dharma.

People with severe arthritis should avoid doing the asana.

Vakrasana

Another sitting asana you can do after Bhadrasana is Vakrasana (twisting pose). This is useful for torsion of the spine. It is also useful for strengthening the supporting muscles of the back and to cause better circulation.

For a beginner, some of the asanas that cause torsion like Konasana may be difficult. Hence a simplified version of Vakrasana would be right for those who have not yet started on torsion to begin with. This would exercise the abdomen and the back in a gentle way. The asanas for torsion can cause a lateral stretch of the vertebral column. Each such manoeuvres release undue pressure on some important part.

To do the asana, sit with legs stretched forward, knees together. Stretch arms at shoulder level, parallel to the floor, palms downwards. Now inhale first, then while exhaling twist from waist moving arms and head together, maintaining parallel position of arms throughout. After the sideward rotation, you return to normal as you inhale. Repeat the rotation on the other side also, with the same rhythm of breathing. Turn head in the direction of the arms as one rotates the arms. Practise five times.

In the beginning, one should proceed gently and not stretch more than one's capacity. The breathing would be three seconds for inhalation and three for exhalation, without pause.

Here the attitude which has to be inculcated is jnana because here we require neuro-muscular co-ordination. We are trying to synchronise our body and muscles with the mind, breath and emotion which needs concentration. Through concentration we understand ourselves better.

Vakrasana exercises the spine, neck, hands and legs. It causes gentle intra-abdominal massage. Rhythmic activity of the muscles soothes nerves. People with slip discs should not do this asana.

(Note: This article is based on the principles advocated by The Yoga Institute, Santacruz)