In postures such as Dandayamana-Janushirsasana (Standing Head-to-Knee Pose), Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirsasana (Standing Separate Leg Head-to-Knee Pose), Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose), Janushirsasana (Seated Head-to-Knee Pose), we engage our perineum and belly muscles (mula and uddyana bandhas), tuck our chin to our chest (jalandhara bandha), and round and curl our spine forward as much as possible, a position unique to the Hot Yoga lineage.
I am sure you have heard many times in Hot Yoga classes something to the effect of, “It is more important to keep your forehead in contact with your knee than it is to straighten your leg,” or “Engage all three bandhas or locks as you round and curl in.” You hear these things all of the time, but for heaven’s sake why? Well, there is a method to the madness. There is, in fact, a reason we tuck the chin and round the spine. It is so very good for you! Here are a few examples as to why:
- -Increased flexibility of the sciatic nerves, tendons, hip joints, and the last five vertebrate of the spine. The rounded spine position of Janshirsasana helps make the lower back and hamstring quite flexible as well as provides relief from joint pain in the hips.
- -Improves mobility and elasticity of the spine and increases flexibility of the back, neck and shoulder muscles. This unique position gives maximum extension and stretch to the spine allowing the nervous system to receive proper nutrition.
- -It aids in digestion by improving and even increasing circulation to the internal organs and bowels. Practicing these asanas regularly will prove beneficial for those who suffer from constipation and indigestion.
- -By stretching the muscles across the internal organs, we help to resolve kidney problems, aid in the proper functioning of the pancreas, liver and spleen thus strengthening the immune system.
- -Tucking the chin to the chest provides a massage and increased circulation to the thyroid and parathyroid glands which are responsible for our body’s ability to properly absorb calcium and other essential minerals, regulating our sleep/wake cycle and metabolism, and also aiding in weight loss.
- -These asanas which incorporate the rounded spine, engaged pelvic floor and belly muscles are also helpful in reducing flab and toning the abdominals and hips.
So, as you can see, there are many benefits to receive by practicing these asanas with a rounded spine and your chin tucked to your chest. This is just one of the myriad ways Hot Yoga heals and restores vital balance to the body and why I am so excited to share and teach this wonderful, curative and therapeutic system!
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Namaste Hot Yogis,
photo courtesy of Hot Yogi