The hands behind back pose, also known as reverse prayer pose or Paschima Namaskarasana in Sanskrit, is a popular yoga pose that is practiced for its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. In this pose, the hands are clasped behind the back, with the palms facing each other and the fingers pointing downwards. The pose is often used as a warm-up exercise or as a transition between other poses. Let’s explore the benefits, techniques, and variations of this pose.
Benefits Of The Hands Behind Back Pose
Improves posture: The hands behind the back pose help to open up the chest and shoulders, which can improve posture and relieve tension in the upper back and neck.
Strengthens shoulders and arms: The pose requires a strong engagement of the arms and shoulders, which can build strength in these areas.
Stretches the wrists: The clasping of the hands behind the back can provide a gentle stretch to the wrists, which is especially beneficial for those who spend a lot of time typing or using a computer.
Calms the mind: The pose can help to calm the mind and reduce stress, as the clasping of the hands behind the back can provide a sense of grounding and stability.
To practice the hands behind back pose, follow these steps:
- Begin in a standing position with the feet hip-distance apart.
- Reach the arms behind the back, with the palms facing each other and the fingers pointing downwards.
- Clasp the hands together, if possible, and draw the shoulders back and down.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, or as long as is comfortable.
- Release the hands and bring the arms back to the sides of the body.
- Tips for practicing the hands behind back pose
- If it is difficult to clasp the hands behind the back, use a strap or towel to hold onto instead.
- Take care not to strain the neck or shoulders. If there is any discomfort or pain, release the pose and try again with a gentler approach.
- Keep the breath smooth and even throughout the pose.
Half hands behind back pose: This variation is a modified version of the full hands behind back pose. Instead of clasping the hands together, bring the fingertips of both hands to touch behind the back.
Bound angle hands behind back pose: In this variation, the hands are clasped behind the back while seated in a bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana). This can provide an additional stretch to the inner thighs and hips.
Forearm hands behind back pose: This variation requires a deeper engagement of the shoulders and arms, as the hands are clasped behind the back while the forearms are parallel to the ground.
One-arm hands behind back pose: This variation involves clasping one hand behind the back, while the other arm is extended upwards. This can provide an additional stretch to the side body.
Precautions and Contraindications
As with any yoga pose, there are precautions and contraindications to keep in mind when practicing the hands behind the back pose. Avoid this pose if you have any shoulder or wrist injuries, or if you experience any pain or discomfort. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, consult with a qualified healthcare professional before attempting this or any other yoga pose.