Understanding the Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist!
Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana gets its name from Sanskrit where “Gatyatmak” means “Faster” or “Quick”, “Meru” means “Spinal” , “Vakra” means “Twist” and “Asana” means “Pose” or “Posture”.
The English name of Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana is The Dynamic Spinal Twist Pose. In the final pose the body is being twisted quickly and hence the name Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana.
Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist is very useful for those with reduced vitality and a stiff back. It is especially useful for menstrual problems and toning the pelvic organs and muscles.
This yoga pose also eliminates energy blockages in the spine, activate the lungs and heart, and improve endocrine function. Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana can be practiced before and after pregnancy, facilitating the process of child birth and retuning the muscles which have become flaccid.
The Dynamic Spinal Twist Yoga Pose stretches the spinal cord and relieves back pain. It is a fairly simple asana and can be done by beginners and practitioners of any age group.
Like other Asanas, it is important that your stomach is empty and bowels are clean when you practice Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist and always keep a gap of at least four to six hours between your yogasanas practice and meal because this will give you enough time to digest the food and create enough energy and vitality for your practice. You should practice yogasanas in the morning. In case you cannot practice yoga in the morning, you can practice the same in evening as well.
How to Do Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist?
- To practice Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist Pose, sit on the floor with both legs outstretched on the floor or on the yoga mat.
- Separate the legs as far apart.
- Make sure that you do not allow the knees to bend while getting into The Dynamic Spinal Twist Pose.
- Stretch the arms sideways at shoulder level.
- While keeping the arms straight, twist to the left and bring the right hand down towards the left big toe to practice the pose.
- Stretch the straight left arm behind the back as the trunk twists to the left while practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana.
- Make sure that you keep both arms in one straight line while practicing The Dynamic Spinal Twist Pose.
- While practicing the pose turn the head to the left and gaze at the left outstretched hand.
- Twist in the opposite direction and bring the left hand down towards the right big toe while practicing the pose.
- Stretch the straight right arm behind the back while practicing the pose.
- Now, while practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist Pose, turn the head to the right and gaze at the right outstretched hand.
- This completes one round of Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana.
- Practice 10 to 20 rounds of The Dynamic Spinal Twist Pose.
- You must essentially start slowly and then gradually increase the speed while practicing this yoga pose.
- Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
- Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.
- After the practice, rest your body in Shavasana for 1-2 minutes.
- Breathing Pattern to Be Followed While Practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist
- Inhale deeply while taking your legs away from each other while getting in Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist.
- Breathe normally in this position.
- Inhale deeply again while twisting once while keeping your spine erect.
- Exhale deeply while bringing your body back to the original position while practicing The Dynamic Spinal Twist.
- Maintain a constant breath while you are in Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana keep inhaling and exhaling deeply while being in the pose.
- Exhale deeply once or twice after releasing the pose.
Preaparatory and Follow Up Poses to Be Practiced With Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist
- Preparatory Poses: The various preparatory poses to be practiced before Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist are Dandasana or The Staff Pose, Rajju Karshanasana or Pulling the Rope Pose, Chakki Chalanasana or Churning the mill pose, Matsyasana (with the legs stretched out) or The Fish Pose, Ushtrasana or The Camel pose and Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose.
- Follow Up Poses: The various follow up poses or Pranayamas to be practiced after Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist are Anulom Vilom or The Alternate Nostril Breathing, Kapalbhati Pranayama, Vajrasana or The Diamond pose, Uttanasana or The Standing Forward Bend Pose, Nauka Sanchalanasana or Rowing the Boat Pose.
Awareness While Practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist
- Physical Awareness – The Physical Awareness while practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist should be on the back the twisting movement and the effect on the spinal vertebrae and muscles.
- Spiritual Awareness – The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist should be on Manipura chakra or The Solar Plexus Chakra which helps in distributing positive energy in the body. The primary energetic focus in Yoga Mudrasana is on Manipura chakra or the Solar Plexus Chakra.
This is our personal power lies. It is also the place which helps us deal with various emotions and learn to stand up for ourselves without being overly sensitive or aggressive. By keeping a focus on the Manipura or The Solar Plexus Chakra, we can have a healthy life when this chakra is balanced.
Benefits of Practicing Jathara Parivartanasana or the Revolved Abdomen Pose
- Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist is beneficial in toning the digestive system and helps in relieving constipation with regular practice.
- This yoga pose also improves the functioning of the reproductive system.
- Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana strengthens the supporting muscles and tissues, resulting in more efficient, balanced structural alignment and improves the posture
- It also improves physiological functioning of the human body.
- The Dynamic Spinal Twist is also beneficial in improving blood circulation throughout the abdominal area.
- This yoga pose is also a relaxation pose which eases you and makes you feel refreshed if practiced after a very tiring day at work.
- When practiced regularly, it helps in relieving stress and energizes the whole body.
- Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist calms the nerves, alleviated stress and helps in getting rid of mild depression.
- It massages the abdominal organs and stimulates the digestive system thereby improving digestion.
- The Dynamic Spinal Twist stretches and strengthens the hips, lower back, and spine.
- Regular practice of this asana makes the spine flexible.
- Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana is said to hydrate the vertebral discs and open the rib cage to promote deeper breathing.
- It increases the body metabolism and helps in releasing toxins from the body.
- Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist is also beneficial for people suffering from frequent headaches and migraine.
Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist
- While practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist, make sure that you do not let your knees to shift below your pelvis. This will put a strain on the lumbar vertebrae.
- Make sure that your arms and shoulder blades are touching the ground all the time while practicing this yoga pose. If your arms and shoulder blades are lifted, this will put a strain on the upper back, neck, and shoulders.
- People suffering from any injury in the back, knees, and hips should not practice dynamic spinal twist yoga pose.
- People who have had any surgery of knees, spine, hips or back recently should also not practice Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana until they are completely healed.
- People suffering from Hiatal Hernia are not supposed to this yoga pose.
- People with a very weak sacroiliac Joint are also not supposed to practice this pose.
- Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana should not be practiced by people suffering from GERD or the Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease.
- Get out of the pose or release the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs or abdomen.
- If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
- Do not over exert yourself while practicing this asana. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
Tips While Practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist
- While practicing Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist, You can rest your head on a blanket or pillow to support your neck.
- When we twist while practicing this pose, it indicates that we have gone too far into the pose. You can ease out a bit and make sure that both shoulders stay equally grounded.
- You can also use a support like a blanket under your knees while practicing The Dynamic Spinal Twist. Gradually with consistent and conscious efforts, you will no longer need support and will be able to practice the asana with ease.
Variations of Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or the Dynamic Spinal Twist
- Variation 1: To make your sacrum and lower back safe, you can modify Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist by placing a blanket or Yoga Block between your knees. Make sure that you put the block between your knees before taking a twist and squeeze the block while twisting to the side from your upper leg. This allows deeper rotation of the lower back. Like in the normal pose, remember to move your belly away from the knees while practicing this variation of Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist.
- Variation 2: You can practice another variation of Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana or The Dynamic Spinal Twist to deepen your breathing. Take a strap and tie it around your upper back and shins. Always keep the buckle of your belt near the knees so you can tighten and loosen the strap after twisting the knee. This pose brings your knees very close to your belly and promotes deeper breathing.
- Variation 3: This variation is for the advanced practitioners. While twisting to the opposite side, instead of touching the leg on the floor, you can keep your lower leg one or two inches above the ground in the air.
- You can also put a blanket under your pelvis to strengthen the lower spine and support your pelvis.