s

Yastikasana The ultimate stretch asana edit button Edit

author
A.D Pradeep Kumar | calendar 19 April 2024 | 41

The Financial Express January 2000

Yoga regards good health as the primary requisite for spiritual well0being. However, this is dependent upon many factors like the well-balanced structure and coordinated normal activities of the various organs of the body. Normal height and weight thus give certain physiological advantages to a person and the corresponding strength as well. Of these two, weight is less important than height, for it is essential to the normal accommodation of the vital organs; weight is merely an indication of the process of nutrition.

A stunted figure crowds the organs and hence affects their smooth functioning. Stretching the body to its full length is of utmost importance for three purposes: relieving the compression of the spine cartilages, stretching of the extremities and encouraging the growth and freedom of the lungs.

Hence, one should try to add vital strength by increasing height through regulated exercise of the skeleton, which is the first important factor in increasing height.

Some of the dynamic variations of Talasana, or the palm tree pose, harmonised to the Yogendra rhythm, are an excellent way of increasing height. And if these Talasana variations are done lying down rather than standing, you can also obviate under strain. This horizontal full-length stretch of the body is called the Yastikasana or stick pose, because a person performing it resembles a stick laying straight on the floor. The Yastikasana is excellent for those who wish to grow taller.

Posture

  • Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and arms stretched out towards the head. Be at ease, relax.
  • Inhaling for three seconds, keep your legs fully extended, toes pointing outwards and raise your hands fully stretched over your head.
  • Stretch your body fully while holding your breath for six seconds.
  • Exhaling for three seconds, return to normal position. Release the tension of the stretch while exhaling.

Always remember that any attempt at stretching the body to the full should be undertaken only during the breath retention phase. This phase must not exceed 3-6 seconds.

When you pull you, you are helping to loosen up every joint. If you find that the initial discomfort you experience is not stiffness and not actual pain, try and hold the pose a little longer. While doing this, don't let any part of your body become stiff or tight. Keep everything straight, but relaxed.

The movements, coordinated breathing and time in this exercise should be adjusted as follows:

  • Supine body, extremities stretched out, inhale, three seconds.
  • Maximum body stretch, no inspiration, six seconds.
  • Return to starting position, exhalation, three seconds.
  • Repeat three to four times.

Benefits

Primarily, the objective of the Yastikasana is to facilitate maximum stretching of the body. This supine pose serves a three-fold purpose. It protects the body from any harm that may be done through faulty postural habits; it tenses the usually relaxed abdominal and pelvic muscles. It offers rest and relaxation when a non-stretching relaxed and passive attitude is maintained. Moreover, it is an excellent means of increasing your height.

The Yastikasana of the cultural asanas, which helps to develop and maintain muscles at their optimum level of strength and flexibility and to tone them. It also helps you to use your body to the optimum. This asana stretches all the muscles of the body lengthwise with an upward stretch. It is the simplest asana for attending to whole body at one time.

Besides general hygiene and the already advantages, extreme stretching puts deep pressure both on the muscular tissues as well as on the organs closely associated with them. This enables the muscular tissues to either use up or put the circulation, surplus deposits of fat. Such movements further tend to equalise the blood circulation by encouraging the venous flow, promoting better coordination, and exercising the usually relaxed abdominal muscles.

The Yastikasana should be practised in the morning for at least one minute, leaving some margin for pause. If necessary, it may even be repeated in the evening. When used exclusively for relaxation, normal rhythmic breathing is indicated without any effort at stretching.

Just this pose is sufficient practise for those who are under a lot of stress and tension. It helps you move away from rigidity of the mind and body.

Bhava

The Yastikasana involves concentration and coordination of body and mind. Since synchronisation is essential here. It comes under the Jnana Bhava.

This simple asana helps to build up inner discipline and concentration while doing various activities during the day. It helps you develop the ability to carry on activities during the day. It helps you develop the ability to carry on with an activity rather than get carried away by the activity itself in an objective way.

Limitations

Not good for those suffering from excessive lumber lordoss, acute disc prolapse, tight paraspinals of lumbar spine.

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