Hasta-Uttana-Asana: From physical world to spiritual world

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The middle part of the body with small joints, the vertebral column is serving as an axis for the upper and lower limbs. So, the muscles around it are to be utilized in all movements’ not in equal proportion but in a limited way. Then the shear forces on the vertebral disc will be distributed to all sides because of proportionate of muscle work. This is how the Hasta-Uttana-Asana will not harm the vertebral discs at mid Thoracic or cervical region. Otherwise the whole weight of upper limbs, head and neck will press the upper thoracic region and leads to either Rhomboids or Trapezius muscle catch or injury. Fixing the body from feet to the pelvis is the base for upper body asana. This will require some more muscles too, but the basic requirement is discussed here in the below table (steps of the sequence are to be followed from 1800 of shoulder flexion). Irregular movements, walking style, positions, body weight (wrong muscles usage and joint position) puts unequal pressure onto the lumbar region. This unequal pressure pulls or pushes the inter-vertebral disc. As the progression, the shear forces will fix the unequal cushion (Inter vertebral disc) between vertebrae. This leads to many symptoms like; muscles catch (Upper back ache), Cervical pain (radiating pain to upper back or to shoulder or to whole upper limb) etc.,

Step Sequence Muscles Movement Effect
1 Toes Tibialis posterior, Gastronemius, soleus Press against the ground Grip
2 Pelvis Core muscles:

Deep Pelvic floor muscles (Down)

Multifidus, erector spine, Latissimus dorsi (back)

Rectus abdominous, Transverse Abdominis, Obliques (Front)

Quadratus lumborum (Outside)

Diaphragm (Upper)

Tail bone front or posterior tilt. Base for the whole movement & balances the front and back weight
3 Lumbar Elongate the column Aligns the column onto the base
4 Thoracic Smooth backward curve
5 Cervical Levetor Scapulae, Trapezius
6 Head Scaleni Extension “and to focus
7 Shoulders Deltoid, Supra & infra spinatus Hyperflexion, medial rotation Counter balances while moving up.

 

Physical relevance: The deep pelvic floor muscles allow the longitudinal movement, it’s good for Moola Bandha. The easy gazing through eye brow, it is good for Ajna and Sahasrara chakra. Hence the longitudinal movement between these two points is maximum by the core muscles. Hence this physical pose;

  1. (Nervous system): Maintains active state and alertness. Improves balance and coordination functions.
  2. (Mind): Pointed awareness reduces the number of thoughts.
  3. (Neck): Thyroid & Parathyroid glands balance.
  4. (Lungs): Improves lung capacities like Vital capacity, Total lung capacity, inspiratory capacity.
  5. (Heart): Allows maximum amount of blood purification at lungs.
  6. (Thorax): Front stretch reduces the pressure of the rib cage and heart.
  7. (Digestive system): Enhances overall awareness on whole alimentary canal.
  8. (Center of Gravity): bit higher from S2 (2nd Sacral vertebra) regularizes the digestion and excretory functions.
  9. (Vertebral column): reduces inter-vertebral pressure.Easy for Moola Bandha.
  10. (Limbs): near neutral positions allows the balanced cartilage metabolism.

Spiritual relevance: This pose actually activates all the chakras if do slowly with internal awareness. Eg;

While praying God, we asked to look up.

We salute to the national flag.

The first step of Sun Salutations.

Position for Sandhya Vandanam

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