Spinal Column Pose

Yoga Poses

Spinal Column Pose Merudandasana

Steps

Begin in staff pose (Dandasana). Bend both knees. Reach the hands forward to clasp two fingers around the big toe of each foot. Lean the upper torso slowly backwards and lift both feet off the ground, balancing on the tailbone. Extend both legs straight, keeping the feet together and point the toes upward. To exit the pose, bend knees and bring feet to ground. Release grip. Return to staff pose.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

This is a balance, similar to boat pose, with legs wide apart. To keep from tipping back or forward, keep the spine upright and focus the eyes on a fixed point . Inhale when lifting legs…hold breath in final position, exhale when lowering legs to ground.

Technical Comments

When in dandasana, move the flesh away from the sit bones. Bring the spine and back upright. Now bend the knees, bringing the fingers to hold the big toes. Engage the core muscles and lean the upper body to the point where the tail bone touches the ground. Keep the upper back and spine straight – do not round the shoulders. Raise the feet off the ground. Root the tail bone down and extend the legs – making a V-shape with the body. To keep the torso upright, preventing a roll back action, pull the toes towards you and stretch the heels away.

Benefit Comments

  • Stretches spinal column
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens legs
  • Stretches hamstrings

Watch Out For:

  • Rolling back (place a block, blanket or bolster behind the hips)
  • Tight hamstrings (straighten the legs as far as is comfortable or use a strap)
  • Rounding back and shoulders (use a strap to avoid bending or crunching forward)
  • Bent knees – (use a strap to help straighten the legs as far as is comfortable)

Contraindications

  • Injury to coccyx
  • Slipped disc

Modifications

  • Place a block, blanket or bolster behind the hips to avoid roll back
  • Hold the feet with a strap to avoid rounding the shoulders or bending the knees

Variations

  • Begin in merudanasana, rock backwards & forwards
  • Begin in merudanasana, open legs to wide straddle
  • Begin in a seated wide straddle – fold forward to hold the toes, then lean back and lift the feet upwards

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana)
  • Wide straddle forward fold (Prada Prasar Paschimottanasana)
  • Standing forward fold (Uttanasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet, is teacher and journalist in Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com

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