Health and Fitness

Kumbhakasana to strengthen the arms, shoulders, abdomen, and back

It can have many challenging physical benefits. Kumbhakasana is also sometimes referred to by many yoga teachers as ‘the top of the push-up’, Phalakasana, Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana, or Kumbhasana.

Kumbhakasana is a transitional pose that usually falls under beginner yoga poses and prepares your body for other intense and advanced yoga poses. Just like its name, the body is in a plank-like position, which is long and slender.

With regular exercise, you can strengthen as well as tone the muscles in your core, chest, shoulders, thighs, and lower back.

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Breathing Holding in Kumbhakasan:

You must be wondering from its name whether you have to hold your breath during this pose.  In the traditional practice of this pose, most yoga practitioners hold their breath briefly before bringing the upper body into a special push-up position.

How to do Kumbhakasana:

  • Stand on your knees and hands in a table pose. And now pull the torso forward until the shoulders come above the wrists and the whole body is in a special straight line like a push-up.
  • Now extend the legs behind you and raise the knees off the ground, activating the core muscles.
  • Now support yourself by pressing firmly into the ground with your hands and forearms. Spread the fingers of the hands.
  • Look down between the hands to lengthen the back of the neck, taking extra care to keep the muscles of the face and throat soft.
  • Draw the shoulder blades towards the lower back. Now spread both the shoulders away from the spine and widen the shoulders.
  • Keeping the thighs and chest raised in a straight line.
  • Stay in this position for 20 to 25 seconds, if you can, then slowly release the knees and return to the starting position.

Benefits of Kumbhakasana:

Following are several major physical benefits of practicing this mudra regularly:

  • This is a great posture for core muscle strength.
  • It provides similar health benefits as aerobic exercise.
  • Improves cardio-respiratory fitness.
  • And this asana enables your neck, shoulders, biceps, triceps, lower back, knees, hamstrings, calves, hips, and quadriceps muscles, and other activities to be performed.
  • This asana enhances your stamina and enhances your metabolism by focusing on all four abdominal muscles, i.e. abdominal, transverse abdominal, internal, and external disorders.
  • Tones your core and abdominal muscles and burns fat.
  • This prepares your body for more challenging poses that involve arm balance, such as the side plank pose.
  • And yoga exercises your chest muscles and improves the functioning of your respiratory system.
  • It helps in increasing stamina levels and improves body posture.

Precautions of Kumbhakasana:

  • You should always maintain the correct posture for this asana, and you can do it as needed.
  • You modify this pose for your comfort and skill level. And you can also try Dolphin Plank Pose, which means your forearms on the ground instead of your hands, or Half Plank Pose, which means knees on the ground.
  • Do not practice the full plank pose variation if you have carpal tunnel syndrome as it can cause more pain and strain on the wrist. Instead, you can practice this pose by resting your forearms on the ground instead of holding your body with your hands.
  • Do not practice this pose if you have osteoporosis as it may increase the risk of fractures.
  • Never let the chest touch the ground.

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Kumbhakasana is one of the most popular asanas in many yoga styles. It includes many different types of yoga sequences, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Surya Namaskar. In this way, the Kumbhakasana is often a repetition of a series of asanas that increase body heat, help sweat and strengthen the arms, wrists, and spine, and tone the abdomen.

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