Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow, Backbend, or Wheel Pose)
This asana is known as the Upwards Bow, backbend or the Wheel, and this asana can be performed as follows;
- Lie supine on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor and heels must be as close to the sitting bones. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, forearms relatively perpendicular to the floor, fingers pointing toward your shoulders.
- Now begin pressing your inner feet actively into the floor, exhale and push your tailbone up toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths. Then firmly press the inner hands into the floor and your shoulder blades against the back and lift up onto the crown of your head. Keep your arms parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths.
- Press your feet and hands into the floor, tailbone and shoulder blades against your back, and with an exhalation, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms. Turn the thighs slightly inwards and firm the outer thighs. Narrow the hip points and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees, lifting the pubis towards the navel.
- Turn upper arms outwards but keep the weight on the base of the index fingers. Spread the shoulder blades across the back and let the head hang, or lift it slightly to look down at the floor.
- Remain in this posture for about 5 to 10 seconds or more, breathing easily. Repeat anywhere from 3 to 10 times.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Stretches the lungs, and chest.
- Strengthens the wrists, arms, buttocks, abdomen and spine.
- Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands.
- Increases the energy levels and counteracts depression.
- Has great therapeutic value in disorders as asthma, back pain, infertility and osteoporosis.
Precautionary measures that are to be followed in this asana are:
- Care must be taken if suffering from back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, diarrhea, and heart problems, high or low blood pressures.
- Pregnant women should not perform this asana.
- Should also not be practiced by individuals with various degenerative disorders of the spine.