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A classic for an exceptional reason, chakravakasana not only promotes healthy digestion and elimination, but this dynamic asana aids in releasing any pressure along the lower, middle and upper back by increasing spinal flexibility and abdominal strength. When led gracefully by the breath, chakravakasana  embodies a stretch-like motion that loosens the joints and muscles while concurrently setting a strong foundation for a flow sequence.

Begin to unravel any tension along the spinal column by coming to all fours: the spine is in a neutral position while the wrists are directly under the shoulders and the knees are hip-distance apart and aligned directly underneath the hips. If there is too much pressure building on the hands, wrists and/or knees that prevents you from finding the healing release of this majestic asana then please feel free to entrust the help of props such as a chair and blankets. To create a greater sense of support, cushion the knees with a blanket and to alleviate the pressure on the hands and wrists, place the forearms on the seat of a chair, again with the bent elbows aligned beneath the shoulders.

As you generously take in a deep inhaling breath, stretch forward, gently lifting the chest while the chin remains parallel to the mat to reduce any unwarranted compression on the cervical spine. As you inhale forward, the sacrum widens and a soft arch develops in the thoracic spine. As you exhale, engage the naval to spine connection and lower back into child’s pose so that your hips stretch back and your buttocks come to rest on your heels. Again, the inhaling breath will guide you back through a neutral spine position and then forward leading with the heart and chest. Maintaining the steady pace of your breath, deeply exhale to let go of all tension and curl the thoracic spine where the naval to spine connection is prevalent. Led by the rhythm and control of your breath, versus a desire to achieve a certain aesthetic quality of the pose, repeat this sequence a few times to a count of four on both the inhalation and exhalation to truly ring out any unnecessary tension and welcome a sense of guided movement therapy to the body.

Growing from acute discomfort to chronic illness, back pain is unfortunately becoming quite prevalent amongst modern-day goers. To aid, ease and alleviate this physical, mental and emotional burden of pain, Gary Krastow offers a sublime flow of sequences in his Viniyoga Therapy for Back Pain.