Yoga – Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Genesis of Parvatasana (Mountain Pose) Yoga:
- Parvat (पर्वत) in Sanskrit means Mountain
- Asana means Posture or Pose
- Parvatasana is Mountain Pose.
- The analogy is manifested as the legs are locked in Padmasana. This provides a broad base with a solid rock-like foundation, like a mountain.
- Hands at the top in ‘Namaskara’ Position represent the narrow peak of Mountain.
1. We lose our height by the evening because of compression of cartilage in the knees and elsewhere, e.g. vertebral frame, in the body. The loss could be as much as 1 cm in a day.
2. During sleep, the cartilage restores its position and we regain our normal height in the morning.
3. Stretching exercises like Parvatasana can help the spinal column get back to normal height quickly.
4. Practised daily, Parvatasana can help children gain height quickly in growing years.
5. Padmasana is ideal for Parvatasana as the locked legs provide an excellent stationary point for upper body stretch.
6. In absence of the ability to practice Padmasana one can do it in Vajrasana, Swastikasana, Ardha Padmasana, Ardha Veerasana or Veerasana.
7. Thus in such a case, one can do it by sitting in a chair as well.
Method of doing Parvatasana Yoga:
1. Sit in Padmasana (or any other comfortable position).
2. Keep folded hands in ‘Namaskar’ position at chest level as shown in Fig. 1
Ensure that the palms just touch each other softly. If pressed hard, there might be tremors in body, which is contrary to the very concept of Yoga which on ‘Differential Relaxation’. Relaxation to the muscles which are not taking an active part in that activity is desirable which in turn is responsible for relaxation of the mind and gives a holistic effect. Also note: the ‘Forearms’ are parallel to the ground.
3. Keeping the palms together, slowly move the folded hands up, in a rhythmic manner without a jerk. The palms are now in front of the face (Fig. 2), yet the forearms are still almost parallel to the ground.
4. Continue to move the hands up – placing the palms at the centre above the head. This is essential, as the correctness of further movement in line with the body depends on this step.
5. Continue to move the hands in a straight line above head till you can do so (without tremors in the hands or body), Fig 3,
6. Once hands are at the top, hold that position for a minimum of 5 breaths.
7. Breathe consciously (withholding breath must be avoided). One breath means one inhalation followed by exhalation.
8. Repeat inhalation – exhalation 5 times for one cycle. 3 such cycles are recommended for optimum benefits.
9. Since the legs are locked providing solidity and a broad base, Parvatasasa gives stretch to the upper part of the body only.
10. With hands stretched up and above the head in a straight line with the back, ‘Chest gets Locked’ and Costal (Chest, Thoracic) breathing is minimum or almost absent.
11. Thus in Parvatasana breathing is predominantly Diaphragmatic – with the help of ‘Abdominal’ muscles.
12. Yet, due to the upper body stretch, even movement of the abdomen gets restricted.
13. Close the eyes and enjoy full stretch to the upper part of the body – entire back muscles as well as chest and the abdominal muscles.
14. Come out of Parvatasana slowly, again maintaining the rhythm is exactly the reverse manner.
15. The procedure is elaborated for understanding purposes only. Parvatasana has to be performed in slow, steady, and rhythmic movements during the entire process.
Breath-holding should be avoided.
It is possible to practice Parvatasana in Vajrasana as well as other sitting postures also. However, since the stretch to the upper part of the body could be experienced only when the legs are locked, Svastikasana, Ardha-Padmasana or Sulabha Veerasana are suitable for those who cannot practice Padmasana.
- There are no obvious contraindications for this Asana.
- Frozen shoulder can be a contraindication as lifting hands is difficult and painful. After proper treatment and recovery, this asana can be practised by persons with frozen shoulder problems to strengthen their shoulder muscles. That may help them prevent frozen shoulder problem in the future.
- In the case of Kyphosis and Lordosis first, ascertain the reason and treat the cause.
- Acute illness is a universal contraindication.
- Pregnant women should consult their doctor and ideally must avoid practising this asana as it stretches the abdomen.
Benefits of Parvatasana Yoga:
- Stretching the thoracic (chest) muscles and restricting the abdominal movement puts a restriction on the movement of these muscles. Breathing under such restraint increases their elasticity.
- Improved elasticity of the costal muscles results in improved breathing, which is beneficial for asthmatic patients. Hence asthmatics should practice this asana regularly (caution: avoid when under acute asthmatic attack).
- This has a positive effect on overall breathing capacity in day to day life.
- Minor defects of the vertebral column caused because of bad posture can get rectified by the regular practice of Parvatasana.
- Parvatasana is a good exercise for women in general and particularly after delivery to tone up the body.
- Practised daily, Parvatasana can help children gain height quickly in growing years.
- Sitting in Padmasana with closed eyes gives a feeling of meditation.
- Excellent stretch to the backbone improves blood circulation throughout the body.
- The improved blood supply to the brain stimulates the mind.
- The overall impact leads to the removal of laziness and energizes the practitioner.
- For children booster for height gain and cheerful mind.