Raise your hand, if you’ve dealt with saggy skin after quitting the gym. Looks like most of us have been there and done that. Well, that’s because your body gets habituated to those weight training exercises, and when you deprive your body of those exercises, your muscles begin losing its elasticity. Result? Loose and jiggly skin.
That’s why only a holistic solution can save your soul – just like yoga. And if you are so concerned about toning your muscles, then nothing can work better than the adho mukha kapotasana.
We know the name sounds like a tongue twister, but adho mukha kapotasana can actually save your muscles. And if you hate lifting weights, then this one is a jackpot.
Adho means down
Mukha means face
Kapota means pigeon
So, if you go by the name, this asana is a half split with one leg stretched back.
1. According to Ms Bhavani Pinisetti, Founder, Laxmana Yoga & Pilates, this yoga pose is not just beneficial for those who want to build endurance, but it also provides mental bliss. And today, she is here to help us do the pose the right way, so that we can benefit from it.
2. First, come into the cat and cow position, slide the right knee between the hands, bring the right knee closer to the right wrist. The right foot is closer or under the left thigh.
3. Now, centre yourself so that your body weight is even.
4. Slide your left leg back on the mat, and lower both hips onto the floor. As you lower your pelvis, be sure that your hips are not spilling to the right. Make sure your back leg is extended. Press the top of your back leg into the floor to stretch your hip flexors even more.
5. Keep your palms by the side of the front knee, and stay in this position for a few breaths. Let the hip settle down on the floor, and observe the sensations in the lower back.
6. If the right hip is not on the floor, then a block or the blanket can be placed under the buttock.
7. Slowly, lean forward and keep the forearms down on the floor. Do about 5 – 10 breaths in forward bend position – inhale to come back up. Press down through the fingertips, as you lift your hips away from the floor, and transition to table top position and switch to the other side.
Adho mukha kapotasana is an intermediate asana to open up hips, and improve flexibility. It also prepares the body for more challenging and advanced poses like backbend poses.
“The buttock and the long muscles that run along the front of our thighs and pelvis also require substantial external rotation, along with the front and back legs. If it is practiced continuously along with other yoga poses, then the hips become stronger due to this pose,” advises Ms Pinisetti.
According to our yoga and pilates expert, this pose will not just help with weight loss, but also help a person to do more dynamic asanas that can burn stubborn fat in no time.
She says, “The tightness in the hip muscles directly impacts the health and mobility of the spine. An unhealthy spine causes not only physical discomfort but also mental stress. Hip opening exercises are extremely important as they counter the harmful effects of our increased sedentary lifestyles.”
1. It provides a deeper stretch for practitioners, and relieves the pain in the lower back. It’s a great yoga pose for those who have sciatica pain.
2. It also improves flexibility and digestion.
3. This pose also intensifies the actions in the hamstrings, and other hip extensors of the front leg, because of deeper hip flexion and more body weight over the front leg. At the same time, it diminishes the actions in the back hip, and in the spine. Therefore, it is great for athletes.
“In the end, I would like to say that this pose is not for everyone. People with bad knees or medical problems, especially problems with the inner meniscus must stay away from this pose. Also, anyone suffering from the severe hip, hamstrings, and back injuries should definitely avoid it,” warns Ms Pinisetti.