Blog-41 – Paryankasana


Meaning: Paryanka = “Couch or Bed”/ “Sofa” : Asana = Pose

What is Paryankasana?

Paryankasana is the Sanskrit name for a pose in the intermediate series of Ashtanga yoga referred to as couch pose in English. The term paryankasana is derived from the Sanskrit word paryanka, meaning “couch or bed,” and asana, meaning “posture.”

How does it Help?

  1. The flexibility of the entire leg: Certainly, this pose requires some flexibility at the knees and ankles but going into this pose and practicing it repeatedly helps in flexing the knees and the ankles deeper.
  2. Stretches the quadriceps: The pose creates a deep stretch at the upper thigh area at the quadriceps muscles, and this stretch further improves the flexibility of these muscles.
  3. Expands the chest and the lungs: In this pose, the chest and the lungs fully expand thus increasing oxygen uptake. This will help in further preparing the lungs for better pranayama.
  4. Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands get activated: The stretching of the neck in Paryankasana, helps in activating the glands with the fresh flow of blood along with the deep stretch.
  5. Abdominal area stretches, improving the functioning of the abdominal organs: The deep stretch at the lower and the upper abdomen benefits the functioning of the internal organs, giving room for an improved digestive system.
  6. Benefits the vocal cords, throat and tongue: Along with the deep stretch at the chest and the lungs, the neck too gets expanded. Along with this expansion, there is a fresh flow of blood which works beneficially for the functioning of the vocal cords and throat keeping them free from infections.
  7. Considered good for someone with low Blood pressure: This pose acts as great therapy for someone with low blood pressure. Repeated practice, but with the guidance of an experienced teacher will prove more beneficial therapeutically.
  8. Can be beneficial to relieve menstrual pain or PMS: Paryankasana, with the deep stretch at the lower abdomen, can sometimes be of great help to fight PMS. And if this pose is practiced 15 days before the moon cycle repeatedly, one can find a significant change in the body during menses.
  9. Fresh blood to the brain removes mental stress: This pose is said to relieve physical and mental stress with the flow of blood in the opposite direction which works to keep the organs and the muscles alive and fit.

How to do the asana?

  1. Sit in virasana with your pelvis on the floor. Elevate your thoracic spine in such a way that you achieve a dome shape in your upper trunk.
  2. As you recline, be sure that the prop is under your shoulder blades, not the middle of your back. The arch should resemble the fish pose.
  3. As you recline pin your shoulder blades away from your ears, trapping them on the bolster so that your entire upper body is wedged upward. Be sure that your head stays in contact with the floor. Should your head float, then support it with a blanket.
  4. With your hands clasped into your elbows, extend your elbows toward the wall behind you and down toward the floor. However, the elbows need not be on the floor.
  5. Stay for 2-3 minutes or as long as you are comfortable.
  6. The pose can be done without the prop support. In the unsupported version, be sure that your weight bear on the midline of the skull. In both versions, the pelvis does not leave the floor.

What are the cautions to be taken?

  1. Don’t perform this asana in case of ankle or knee injury.
  2. Avoid this asana if you have severe back pain or a stiff neck.
  3. Pregnant women and women during menstruation must not practice this asana.
  4. Always perform Yogic activities under the supervision of experts.

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