Merudandasana (Spinal Column Pose): Meaning, Steps, Benefits, & Precautions

merudandasana - spinal column pose
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Merudandasana is an intermediate seated balancing pose. It has a stretching and toning effect over the arms, abdomen, calves, hamstring, hips, and groin. So it benefits physically in many ways.

This asana seems quite simple and static in appearance but once you dwell your consciousness within it; you will realize, how dynamic and energetic the pose is.

Meaning

The spinal column is called Meru danda in Sanskrit. Merudandasana means Spinal column pose.

In Merudandasana, the seeker balances the spine on the tailbone, while both legs are stretching on either side with arms support. It straightens and lengthens the spine perfectly.

In religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, Mount Kailash (a high peak mountain in Trans Himalaya) is identified with Mount Meru. Mount Meru is said the center axis of the Universe and Merudanda is its physical embodiment. The importance of Merudandasana lies in the fact that it takes care of the central axis i.e. spine which nourishes the whole body from top to bottom.

So, Meru danda is the representation of Mount Meru in our body. The accomplished state of this asana takes the practitioners to erect their spine as the mountain peak.

It has been observed that the grizzly bear in their personal environment often acquires the merudandasana’s position; Hence, it is also known as ‘Bear Pose‘.

Merudandasana Practice Guide

This asana can be practiced safely by following the given steps.

Precaution and Contraindications

  • Practitioners with the condition of knee and ankle should avoid doing this asana.
  • Practicing Merudandasana in lower back pain, slip disc, and sciatica might worsen the situation. So refrain from it.
  • People with the condition of high blood pressure or any other heart ailments should avoid performing this asana.

Preparatory Pose

Merudandasana Steps

  • Sit in Baddha Konasana; your sole of the feet touching each other and thighs on either side of the ground.
  • Now, place your feet flat on the floor, slightly away from the hips.
  • Hold your big toes and raise your feet upward slowly and steadily while leaning back; your spine should be erect here, Balance your body on the tail bone (coccyx).
  • Now, apart from the legs; as far as it feels comfortable and straightens them along with your arms.
  • Hold the position while looking at a fixed point; this will provide an invisible hand to support your posture.
  • After holding as per your ability to remain in that position; return back by bringing leg together and by freeing sit bone; to the previous state and relax.

Props and Modifications

  • Practitioners can take the support of the wall initially as if it is getting difficult to hold the posture for the longer periods.
  • Those who are unable to reach the toes in full stretching position; can use a strap to wrap it around the ankle and then grab it to hold the position.

Follow Up Pose

  • Plow Pose (Halasana)
  • Full Split (Hanumanasana)

Variations

1. Muktha Merudandasana – In this variation, legs are raised up while maintaining the straightness of the spine without any hands support.

2. Supta Merudandasana – In this variation, lay down on the back on the floor and raise both your legs at an angle of 45 degrees from the floor.

3. Ardha Merudandasana – In contrast to supta merudandasana, one leg is raised at 45 degrees while laying down on the floor.

Merudandasana Benefits

  1. Tones abdominal organs – As in Merudandasana abdomen comes continuous contraction and relaxation, it lays pressure on abdominal organs. Hence, get relief from constipation, good for liver health and other abdominal problems.
  2. Optimizes Digestive system – Spinal column pose is helpful in restoring the health of the digestive system by stimulating intestinal peristalsis, alleviating constipation. This asana blesses them with energy to work efficiently than before. Hence, totally transform the digestive health.
  3. Strengthen Nervous System – The straightening of the spine rejuvenates the spinal nerves; and this further impacts their endings (organs). However, it also rejuvenates the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous system.
  4. Improve Strength & Flexibility – It gives an excellent stretch to the hamstring, inner thigh, groin, hips, calves, shoulder, neck, and arms; Ultimately, makes one’s body supple and stronger.
  5. Strengthen Reproductive System – The inclined position of torso and legs rushes the blood toward the groin, which works as a supplement for the reproductive organs or tissues. It enhances their functioning and makes one sexually stable to lead a healthy family.
  6. Build Core Strength – While legs are hand supported; still, they require inner body strength to maintain them in that position. Therefore, core muscles supply an extra pack of support to let posture for more; Hence, Merudandasana build aesthetically stronger and even muscular core. Due to this fact, it’s practiced as a preparatory exercise of boat pose.
    . Due to this benefit, Merudandasana can be practiced as a preparation poses for Navasana.
  7. Activates Sacral Chakra – Pressure on the abdomen pushes the belly towards the spine; this when performed regularly and in the right way, can activate the Sacral Chakra. This brings a wave of desire, curiosity, and creativity to the practitioner.

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