Mahaveer Jain uses props for the seated and reclined variations of Supta Vajrasana and stays in the restorative posture for at least ten minutes.
I’ve been practising Ashtanga Yoga for six years and I’m proud to call this city my home. Mysore is home to so many great yoga masters and we’re blessed to have such easy access to these incredible teachers. While I love the Vinyasa-based movements of Ashtanga, I also enjoy practising restorative poses and at times, I use props as they enable me to stay in the pose for a longer period of time.
Restorative yoga poses rejuvenate and calm my mind and body. Supta vajrasana is my go-to restorative backbend whenever I feel stressed or tired. I practise it in two variations — seated and reclined. I love this posture because it relaxes and energises my mind and body simultaneously. It’s also one of the few asanas we can practise after eating (the seated variation) as it aids digestion. At times, I practise only supta vajrasana after a tiring day and I feel refreshed after staying in the pose for just ten minutes.
I would recommend using props for this posture as they help to keep the body aligned and enable me to stay in the pose for longer, which is essential for restorative asanas. Supta vajrasana gives the lower spine a good stretch and even the thigh muscles are stretched and toned. I wouldn’t recommend this pose if you suffer from high blood pressure, vertigo or have a slipped disc.
It stretches the lower spine that tones the spinal nerves and muscles in the region. Thigh muscles are stretched and toned. This improves the flexibility of the upper legs. Supta Vajrasana activates the Vajra Nadi and thereby it diverts the sexual energy for spiritual progress.
Asana to Relax and Energise
Before your start practice, make sure you have your props next to you. For this asana, we need a bolster, a brick and a belt. Place the bolster behind you so that the end of the bolster touches your tailbone and sit on the brick with your legs folded at the knees.
Using the buckle at the end of the belt, create a loop with the belt that goes around your thighs. This to make sure that your legs don’t splay open when you enter the pose. Make sure you are seated comfortably on the brick as the height that the brick offers lessens the pressure on your lower back.
Inhale, and as you exhale, start moving your torso backwards. You can use your palms and elbows to move back till your back is completely resting on the bolster. Once you’re completely resting on the bolster, place your arms to the side. Your shoulders are rolled away from the neck. Your chest is really open in this position, so it’s easy to take deep inhalations and exhalations. Stay here for as long as you can and enjoy the posture.
You can even take your arms overhead and interlock them for a deeper stretch. When you feel ready to release the pose, come back up on an inhalation. Keep your back and head stretched and elongated when you come up.
Mahaveer Jain is a Mysore-based Ashtanga yoga practitioner.