Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day
Vimanasana: Chariot or Airplane Pose
The fact is that we are all human and we all get moody at times. Dependent perhaps on the weather, the circumstances throughout our day or weeks even, the score of a game, the outcome of a movie, the unfulfilled ending to a novel, the results of any experience we attribute value to can and does occasionally get the best of it. Once we identify the swing in our persona, we oftentimes try to get back on track through reflection, positive actions, affirmations, reminders of all we have to be grateful for, mediation and our yoga practice. Akin to our emotional well being, our physical well being is also recognized for undergoing turbulence and feeling disconnected to its natural tendency. In particular, our sacrum becomes quite moody as well. Especially in our asana practices, many asymmetrical asanas akin to virabhadrasana II, utthita parsvakonasana and/or trikonasana when not balanced with neutral poses such as virabhadrasana I, crescent pose and paschimottanasana can start to bothers our sacrum and generate a sense of discomfort. Practicing a symmetrical backward bend like vimanasana: chariot or airplane pose, is ideal to neutralize the hip joints: therefore, offsetting and reducing if not relieving any built up discomfort in our lower spinal vertebrate column.
To Get Into Vimanasana
To physically achieve vimanasana, begin by lying supine on the stomach with the legs together or slightly apart. To better understand which leg positioning is best and appropriate for your body consider in the direction of the legs in relation to pelvis when eventually lifted. The outward movement of the legs encourages the sit bones to move outwards as well and the pelvic rims ultimately move toward each other. By moving the legs closer towards each other so that the toes touch when lifted, the sit bones also move inwards and the pelvic rims move outwards. When ultimately lifting the upper body, with legs lifted together or farther apart continues to support a grounded sensation throughout the pelvis.
While laying on your stomach, the legs engaged and reaching long behind you, the arms are either down the sides of your torso, palms reaching up or if it is causing too much strain on the lower thoracic region and upper lumbar region of the spine to have your arms lifted at chest height, feel free to lower the forearms onto the mat. The elbows are bent directly underneath the shoulders and the forearms shoulder-distance apart.
To reiterate, vimanasana begins while laying on your stomach, the forehead rest gently on the mat or it if is more comfortable for your neck, turn your head to one side and place the cheek on the mat, your arms are down by your sides or elbows bent underneath your shoulder. Exhale completely and on your next inhalation, tighten the abdominal muscles while rolling shoulders back and down the spine and leading with the breath, pull the chest forward and up, the legs lift (feet together or legs wider a part) and if the arms are by your side they lift up and can spread out line airplane wings. While continuing to inhale, the head extends away from the shoulders and chin gently lifts up while still parallel to the floor beneath you. On a cleansing exhalation, lower the chest, legs and arms (if lifted rather than bent) beside your torso while relaxing the abdomen muscles and lowering the forehead or cheek (now in the opposite direction) onto the mat.
When inhaling to repeat vimanasana, keep in mind that the legs should not be lifting higher than the height of your chest to reduce any chance of strain on the lower back. Ease into and out of the pose, allowing the breath to guide your rather the physicality of the asana. Master Teacher, Gary Kraftsow guides you through this grounding, relieving, yet spine-strengthening pose in his Low Back, Hips and Sacrum Viniyoga Therapy practice.