Most yoga practitioners do a lot of forward folds, backbends and twists. But there’s another way we must move our spine daily. Lateral stretches. Bananasana is a great option for a deep lateral stretch, while laying down on your back, resting. Keep your back and hips flat on the ground, as you slowly move the arms, torso and legs, toward each other so that your body approximates the shape of a banana.
As always when doing Yin Yoga, but especially with this pose, you must exit very slowly. You may want to first move one arm, then one leg, then the torso, back to center. Rest or roll side to side on your back before repeating on the second side.
Since one of the premises of Yin Yoga is that it imitates acupuncture, this is a good example of a pose that gently compresses one set of meridians while opening the other. This pose is great for stretching not only the lateral sides, but the inner arms and armpits which are associated with the Lung and Stomach meridians.
As may be expected, the Stomach is one of the meridians that rule digestion. But, much more. The master Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine states, “The Lung is the advisor. It helps the Heart in regulating the body’s Qi.”
From a more modern perspective, Tom Myers says all of the fascia are connected in pathways, like railroad tracks. Originator of the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians, he has identified and labeled the different train tracks including the Lateral Lines and the Arm Lines. Bananasana is a great pose to work both those lines. Myers likens Lateral Lines to the way a fish moves with its tail. So he calls the Lateral Line structure a “moderator of movement.”
As with any supine position, this is contraindicated for pregnant women. Always consult your yoga therapist to determine which poses are best suited for your particular physical and emotional needs.
For more about benefits of Yin Yoga in general, visit my blog spot, www.TheNamasteCounsel.com/yoga-blog, and enter the words Yin Yoga in the search window.