Backbend vs Insomnia
Labels:Indian mythology is rich with references to the bow, a simple stringed weapon that enables a steady and skilled archer to defeat an enemy. The pose Dhanurasana extends the body into the shape of a bow as the arms reach back straight and taut, forming the "string" of the asana. Done properly, Dhanurasana is a superb back strengthener that can help vanquish the postural enemy of rounded shoulders. Arching the body backward opens the chest and provides a powerful stretch for the front of the shoulders and the quadriceps—a wonderful antidote to all the time we spend "crunched" forward in daily life.
Like all other backbends, Dhanurasana is dynamic and energizing—stretching the front body increases the flow of blood to the digestive tract and enhances the efficiency of the stomach, liver, and intestines, while contracting the back body stimulates the kidneys and adrenals. But it can be so invigorating that if you suffer from insomnia, you should not practice it late in the day. You can modify Dhanurasana by reaching the arms back without catching the ankles or by using a strap. Don't worry about catching the ankles if this puts pressure on your knees or lower back. Remember that the Yoga Sutra states that a yoga asana should have two qualities: steadiness and ease. If you don't feel steady and at ease in this pose, back off to easier versions until you do.