Top 10 Yoga asana for Managing Muscle cramps
These occur when a muscle in the limbs or
abdomen contracts with great
intensity and does not
relax. These are often caused by exposure to heat.
(Cramps in the chest or
arms, however, can indicate a
attack and require
immediate medical attention. )
Cramps afflict 39 percent of marathon runners, 79 percent of triathletes, and
60 percent of cyclists at one time or another, said Dr. Martin P. Schwellnus, a
professor of sports medicine at the University of Cape Town.
Cramps can occur during exercise, immediately after, or as long as six
hours later. Yet common as they are and terrible as they can be, no one really
understands cramps. They are a medical mystery.
Possible Causes of Muscle Cramps
There are some medical conditions that can lead to cramps, including narrowed
blood vessels, usually from atherosclerosis, or compression of a nerve, as
happens in spinal stenosis. Cramps also can arise from
hypothyroidism. And they
can be a side effect of medications like diuretics, used to lower
pressure, which can lead to a potassium deficiency that can cause cramps.
But, these conditions do not explain the vast majority of cramps. Some other
feel electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, not
stretching before and after
strenuous exercise as possible cause for muscle cramps.
Here are ten yogasanas to heal muscle cramps.
- Steady and firm mountain pose-
This pose is the starting point of all standing
asanas, lifts the sternum, which
is the site of the anahata or "heart"
charka. This helps to reduce
boost your self-confidence, while the perfect
balance of the final pose
increases your alertness. In Sanskrit, tadasana means "mountain pose" while samasthithi indicates an
"upright and steady state."
Stand in your bare feet on a smooth and even surface. Keep your feet together,
with your heels touching the wall. Beginners may find it easier to keep their
feet 5cm (2in) apart.
Stretch your arms along your sides, with the palms facing your
your fingers pointing to the floor. Stretch your neck upward, keeping the
muscles soft and passive.
Distribute your weight
evenly on the inner and outer edges of your
on your toes and heels. Tighten your kneecaps and open the back of each knee.
Turn in the front of your thighs. Tighten your
buttocks. Pull in your lower
abdomen, and lift your chest.
Keep your head erect and look straight ahead.
Breathe evenly and with
awareness. Experience your body and mind as an integrated whole and feel the
surge of energy. Stay in the pose for 30-60 seconds.
TADASANA URDHVA HASTASANA
-Mountain pose with arms stretched up-
This is a variation of the mountain pose, with the arms extended upward. Urdhva
translates as "upward" in Sanskrit, while hasta means "hands". This is
recommended for people in sedentary occupations, as it exercises the arms, and
the joints of the shoulders
Wrists, knuckles, and fingers.
Stand in your bare feet in Tadasana on an even, uncovered surface. Exhale, and
stretching from your waist, lifts your arms in front of you, to shoulder-level.
Keep your palms open and facing each other.
Raise your arms above your head, perpendicular to the floor. Stretch your arms
and fingers. Push your shoulder blades into your body.
Stretch your arms further up from your shoulders, keeping them parallel to
each other. Extend your wrists, palms, and fingers toward the ceiling. Feel the
stretch along both sides of your body.
Pull in your lower abdomen. Turn your wrists so that the palms face front.
Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. Breathe evenly.
TADASANA URDHVA BADDHA HASTASANA
-Mountain pose with fingers interlocked-
In this pose, the brain is relaxed but alert, and you are aware of the intense
stretch of your whole body, from your feet to your interlocked fingers. Feel the
energy flow upward from your feet to your knuckles.
Stand in your bare feet in Tadasana against a wall, on an even, uncovered
surface. Bring your arms toward your chest, with your palms facing the chest.
Interlock your fingers firmly, from the base of the knuckles, with the little
finger of your left hand lower than the little finger of the right hand.
Turn your interlocked palms inside out. Exhale, and stretch your arms out in
front of you at shoulder-level. Then inhale, and raise your arms above your head
until they are perpendicular to the floor. Extend your arms fully and lock your
elbows. Feel the stretch in your palms. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
TADASANA PASCHIMA NAMASKAR
-Mountain pose with hands folded behind the back-
In this standing asana, the hands are folded at the back in the Indian
salutation of namaskar or "greeting". This
stretch requires considerable
flexibility in the upper body and arms.
Stand in your bare feet in Tadasana on an even, uncovered surface. Gently turn
your arms in and out a few times. Take them behind you and join your fingertips,
pointing them to the floor. Rest your thumbs on your lower back. Move your
elbows back and rotate your wrists, so that your fingertips turn and point first
toward your back, and then upward.
Press your palms together, and move them up your back until they are between
your shoulder blades. Keep your palms joined from the base to the fingertips.
Push your elbows down, to stretch your upper arms and chest. Focus on keeping
your chest and armpits open. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Hold the pose
for 30-60 seconds. Breathe evenly.
-Mountain pose with hands held in the shape of a cow's face-
The asana is a variation of Tadasana, the mountain pose. It activates the
muscles of the shoulders and back. The stretch in the arms helps to relieve
arthritis in the shoulders, Elbows, wrists, and fingers.
Stand in your bare feet in Tadasana on an even, uncovered surface. Take your
left arm behind you and place the back of your left palm on the middle of your
back. Raise your right arm. Bend your right elbow and move your hand down, with
your palm facing your body.
Place your right palm on your left palm and interlink the fingers of both
hands. If this proves difficult, touch the fingertips of both hands to each
other. Do not force your arms to bend – give yourself time to adjust to the
action. Consciously relax your arms. Open your right armpit to create space
between your chest and your upper right arm. Keep your right elbow pointed up
and back, and your right forearm close to your head. Lower your left elbow
further. Then place the back of your left wrist on your back. Hold the pose for
20-30 seconds. Repeat the pose on the other side.
TADASANA PASCHIMA BADDHA NAMASKAR
-Mountain pose with the arms folded behind the back-
Stand in your bare feet in Tadasana on an even, uncovered surface. Take your
right arm behind your back, and hold your left arm just above the elbow. Bend
your left arm and take it behind your back. Stretch both
legs and imagine you
are pulling the skin, muscles, and
bones of your legs up to your waist.
Hold your right arm just above the elbow with your left hand. Your grip should
be firm but not tight. Keep your forearms pressed to your back. Turn in your
upper arms slightly. Push your elbows back, but do not allow them to lift.
Initially, hold the pose for 20-30 seconds. With practice, increase the duration
to 1 minute. You should breathe evenly throughout.
-Extended triangle pose-
Regular practice of this asana taps energy stored in the tailbone, which is an
important source of vitality and
strength. This helps those who require more
energy to function efficiently when under stress. The pose activates the spine,
keeping it supple and well-aligned. It relieves
backache, and reduces
in the neck, shoulders, and knees.
You will need a mat, wall and a wooden block. Practice against a wall supports
the body, reduces strain, and helps to align the body correctly. The mat
prevents your feet from slipping, helping to maintain the final balance in the
pose. The block helps those with stiff backs to reach the floor, and allows for
greater extension of the spine, neck, and shoulders.
Spread a mat against a wall. Place a wooden block on its long side on the
right edge of the mat. Stand in Tadasana on the centre of the mat. Inhale, then
spread your feet about 1m (3.5ft) apart. Your heels and buttocks should touch
the wall. Raise your arms out to your sides until they are in line with your
Now, turn the right foot out to the right until it is parallel to the wall.
Turn your left foot in slightly to the right. Your left heel and buttocks should
touch the wall. Keep your left leg straight. Stretch your arms away from your
body, keeping them parallel to the floor, with your palms facing down.
Bend to the right and extend your right arm toward the floor. Place your right
palm on the block. Pull the tailbone into your body, keeping your left buttock
and shoulders firmly pressed to the wall. Raise the left arm up toward the
ceiling. Turn your head and look at your left thumb. Rest your weight on both
heels, and not on your right palm. Breathe evenly, not deeply. Hold the pose for
20-30 seconds. Repeat the pose on the other side.
-Intense side stretch-
This asana is practiced against a wall, with a block under the lowered hand.
There is often a tendency to sink down on the bent leg in the final pose of this
The support of the wall reduces fatigue, helps you to hold the pose longer, and
aligns your neck and head correctly. A wooden block is placed at a suitable
height under the lowered hand. This helps those who have stiff spine or who find
it difficult to reach the floor. It also helps to maintain steadiness in the
Stand in Tadasana against a wall, with your heels and your buttocks touching
it. Place the block on the floor behind your right foot. Inhale, and spread your
feet 1m (3.5ft) apart. Turn your right foot out to the right, until it is
parallel to the wall.
Turn your left foot in slightly to the right. Press the outer edge of your
left foot firmly on the floor, and bend the right knee, pushing your thigh down
until your calf is at right angles to the floor. Stretch your left arm away from
your left shoulder.
Bend to the right, and place your right palm on the block. Stretch the left
arm up, with the palm facing forward. Now rotate the arm and bring it toward
your left ear. Your left thumb should touch the wall. Turn your head and look at
your left arm. Maintain a continuous stretch from the left ankle to the left
wrist. Press your outer left foot into the floor. Move your shoulder blades into
your body, and extend your spine toward your head. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
Repeat the pose on the other side.
-Half moon pose-
In this asana, your body takes the shape of a half moon. Regular practice
enhances your span of concentration. It also improves co-ordination and motor
reflexes. The intense stretch it gives to the spine, strengthens the Para spinal
muscles, keeping the spine supple and well-aligned.
You will require a wooden block and a wall. The wall gives stability and helps
to align the head and neck. The wooden block makes the pose easier for those who
have stiff backs and cannot reach the floor.
Stand in Tadasana. Place a block on its short side against the wall. Inhale,
spread your feet 1m (3.5ft) apart. Raise your arms to shoulder–level.
Turn your right foot out to the right, parallel to the wall, and turn your
left foot in, slightly to the right. Bend your right knee, and place the right
palm on the block. Raise your left arm.
Straighten your right leg. Raise your left leg, until it is parallel to the
floor. Keep your left arm stretched up, in line with the right arm. The back of
your left hand should touch the wall.
Look up at your left thumb. Keep your weight on the right foot, thigh, and
hip, not on your right palm. Hold the pose for 20 seconds. Repeat the pose on
the other side.
-Intense leg stretch-
This asana gives an intense stretch to your legs. The torso is inverted in the
pose, and the head rests on the floor, or on a block or a bolster. This restful
and recuperative asana is usually practiced toward the end of the standing pose
cycle, just before Salamba Sirsasana. Practicing the asana cools the body and
brain, and gives you a feeling of tranquillity and repose.
Stand in Tadasana. Place your hands on your hips, with your thumbs on your
back and your fingers on the front of the hips. Inhale, and spread your feet
1.2m (4ft) apart. Your feet should be parallel to each other, the toes pointing
forward. Press the outer edges of your feet to the floor. Keep your back erect.
Exhale, and lift both kneecaps. Bend forward, extending your spine, and bring
your torso down toward the floor. Look up as you bend to ensure that your back
is concave. Take both hands off your hips, and lower them to the floor. Place
your palms flat on the floor with your fingers spread out.
Widen your elbows, keeping your palms flat on the floor. Place the crown of
your head on the floor, between your palms. Push your sternum forward and draw
the abdomen in. Move the thighbones and groin back to reduce the pressure on
your head. Stay in the pose for 1 minute.
Be sure to warm up before exercising, and to drink plenty
of fluid before, during and after your training session. On hot days, or if
you tend to sweat a lot, an electrolyte replacement drink will help prevent
dehydration and cramps.
Dated 29 November 2011