This asana is named the Gondola Pose because during its execution the body looks like a gondola. From the profile, the body looks like a gondola sailing on agitated waters, as it rocks back and forth.
WHO CAN PERFORM THE ASANA?
Anyone capable of physical effort can perform Indolasana, as long as they do not force things. For instance, people who have a disposition to heart attacks will not do this asana, this is common sense.
HOW TO PERFORM THE ASANA
You should not eat for two hours prior to practicing this asana.
Lie on your front, hands stretched forward on the floor above your head and the legs close together so that the knees and ankles touch each other.
Perform a muscular contraction of the upper part of the back and lift the chest, arms and legs.
Do not force yourselves to stay immobile, it would be impossible, rather allow your chest to come back to the initial position.
In the beginning, do not try to raise your chest and legs very high.
The balance will become easier and easier and the amplitude of the movement will increase by itself, with no obvious effort on your part.
While the chest and arms return to the floor, perform a powerful contraction of the lower back muscles to make the legs come up without exaggerated effort.
Keep the knees and the ankles close, avoid bending the knees too much, as bending them slightly is inevitable.
Make your chest go up again and begin once more the rocking movement. The balance movement is obtained exclusively from the contraction of the back muscles, and not through alternatively pushing the legs or the hands.
When the arms and the chest go upwards, then the muscles from the upper part of the back are active. When the legs go up, then the lumbar muscles are active. The legs are close to one another and the ankles are not bent.
Thus, the body rocks back and forth, under the impulse of the upper and lower back muscles respectively.
Many people consider this exercise too tough because they do it in a too active and energetic manner. You need to start gradually, being content in the first stages with a balance of few centimetres.
Once the rocking movement has been started, you will add to each movement a supplementary impulse, which will allow you to perform this technique for 30-40 seconds without much of an effort.
When you feel you begin to force yourself too much to do this asana, stop and lie on your stomach to perceive the effects.
Focus on the rocking movement and on the control of the groups of muscles that need to work to allow you to do this asana. You also need to pay close attention not to bend the knees and to keep them close.
Perceive the intense activation of the abdominal area. Perceive the activation of the subtle centre of force Manipura Chakra, and secondary the activation of the energy centres Anahata Chakra and Swadhisthana Chakra.
Inhale when the head and the chest go up, and exhale when the head goes down.
After completing the asana return to the starting position. Listen to your heart beat and become aware of the breath. Relax the groups of muscles that were most worked during this asana. These muscles will tend to relax spontaneously after the effort, and it is useful if you accentuate this tendency.
The reason the relaxation after the asana is done on the stomach instead of the back is that when relaxing on the back, the anterior muscles of the body benefits most, while when relaxing on the stomach, the posterior muscles, the muscles worked in this asana, relax better and deeper.
Begin with the soles of the feet; continue with the legs, hips, buttocks, then the muscles of the back, the shoulders and the neck.
After relaxing the dorsal muscles as much as possible, perceive the abdominal breath and perceive the slight and fine movement of the lower back when inhaling and exhaling.
The head is positioned with the right ear on the floor. After approximately 12 breaths, when the neck is completely relaxed, rotate your head with the left ear on the floor and repeat the procedure.
Thus all the muscles of the neck are relaxed, which is usually the source of numerous tensions, causing migraines, because of insufficient irrigation of the brain with fresh arterial blood.
ERRORS TO AVOID
- Pushing in the arms to help the balance;
- Spreading the knees;
- Bending the legs;
- Separating the ankles;
- Holding the breath;
- Trying to rock too much too soon;
- Not synchronizing the breath with the balance movement
It is impossible to have a spine in perfect shape if the back muscles are in a bad condition. Thus it is important that your muscles are strong and supple, Indolasana is ideal in strengthening and making these muscles supple.
This asana especially beneficialial to women, as usually women have weaker spine muscles, a straight and healthy back gives a woman a beautiful figure and this asana is a guarantee for that.
THE INTERNAL ORGANS
The back muscles are not the sole beneficialiary of this asana. The balance movement performs an effective massage on the internal organs and decongests the solar plexus, which is our abdominal and visceral “brain”.
The solar plexus regulates the functions of the internal organs and in it we can “read” the state of our anxiety and stress. The massage Indolasana does on this area eliminates anxiety, stress and inner tensions.
Furthermore, constipation, intestinal and digestive “idleness” are eliminated. The liver and pancreas are stimulated.
THE BLOOD CIRCULATION
People with a sedentary people lifestyle have a slow blood circulation, especially in the abdominal area. Indolasana is a great accelerator of the blood circulation.
The heart is the greatest victim of the modern times, not because it is fragile, it is so solid that it could last for longer than we think, but because it has to endure the consequences of breaking the elementary rules of physical and mental hygiene.
The heart is the victim of unhealthy food, vices (tobacco, sweets, alcohol etc), sedentary and irregular lifestyle, anxieties, and insufficient breathing.
The heart needs a daily stimulant to stay in perfect health. Indolasana is a very suitable stimulant for the heart.