A counter-pose represents a physical attitude with complementary effects for the initial pose. For instance, an asana of flexing the body towards the front has a counter-posture that consists in a backward flexion.
WHO CAN PERFORM THE ASANA?
Anyone can perform this asana but people who have epilepsy should not perform the hyperventilation, because it may trigger an epileptic attack. Yogis recommend its practice in the morning, before practicing the Sun Salute (Surya Namaskara).
PLACE IN THE SERIES OF ASANAS
Normally, this pose is performed in the preparatory stage of the asanas, acknowledging the hyperventilation that accompanies it.
HOW TO PERFORM THE ASANA
Stand and place the feet a distance of 35-40cm apart and point the toes outwards. The soles of the feet should be almost in a straight line.
THE FIRST STAGE
Lower your torso so your shoulders are between your knees, pass your arms behind your legs and hold the inner side of the soles with the palms of your hands. It is important to make a solid base to support the hands by placing them underneath the soles of your feet.
THE SECOND STAGE
Lift your head as high as possible and at the same time spread the elbows as much as possible, which will push the feet and knees outwards, acting upon their joints.
THE FINAL POSE
Stay in this position, open the eyes and look towards the sky, or ceiling, bending the head backwards as much as possible which will keep the torso and spine straight.
The muscles of the back are stretched and tensed, which is one of the objectives this posture has.
In the final pose, begin a pulmonary hyperventilation. The active element of circulating the air through the lungs benefits the abdominal musculature in this pranayama technique.
The inhalation takes place naturally, because of the relaxation of the abdominal muscles.
The exhalation is active and takes place because of the contraction of the abdominal muscles which pushes the diaphragm up, causing the rapid elimination of the air from the lungs. This powerful compression of the abdomen makes the hyperventilation easier.
Both the inhalation and the exhalation should take equal time, and they are both performed only through the nose.
Thus, the “motor” that sets in action the respiration is the abdominal muscles, and not the thoracic muscles. The number of breaths per minute is approximately 80 – keep in mind that this is a ventilation movement.
Caution: Do not give up the correctness of this posture, which gives a great amount of pranic energy assimilation, for the speed of execution. Thus, the rhythm is individual.
Perform the accelerated breath for at least one minute. The hyperventilation eliminates a significant quantity of carbon dioxide from the lungs and it causes the amplification of bio-energy while bringing a state of revitalization.
In the complete and correct position of Mandukasana, the retention of the breath should naturally follow the hyperventilation.
Thus, performing the set of fast breaths with an inhalation afterwards, block the breath with the lungs filled and relax the body, without coming out of the pose.
Do not take the hands from the soles; just relax in the final pose and relax the torso and the head. Retain the breath with your lungs filled for as long as you can without forcing yourselves, and then exhale.
Repeat the technique for at least two times. For two executions, the total time required is approximately four minutes.
Focus mentally on Manipura Chakra, located at about two finger widths below the navel.
The asana greatly benefits the joints of the knees and ankles, which are very worked out from the practice of Padmasana, the Lotus Pose.
Mandukasana influences in these joints, tensions that are opposed to those appearing in the case of Padmasana, and this is where the complementary aspect of Mandukasana comes from.
Therefore, you can perform Mandukasana after Padmasana and after any meditation. People who suffer from pains in the knees because of Padmasana can also perform this asana, Mandukasana in order to ease those pains.
Obviously, Mandukasana is not a unique, infallible solution your joint problems. However, in a great number of situations, it acts favourably and it never makes the condition worse.
The asana fortifies the muscles of the back and it also brings about supplementary relaxation after you practice it.