How to do Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank & What are its Benefits?

The name of this asana is derived from Sanskrit where “Goolf” means “Ankle” and “Ghoornan” means “Cranking”.

It is considered best when Ankle bending and rotating exercises are practiced early in the morning. However, if because of some reason, you are not able to practice it in the morning, you can practice this pose in the evening as well. Mornings are preferred as the food is digested and your body has the energy to perform the asanas. But make sure that when you are practicing these exercises in the evening, you should have your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank stretches and opens hips. It is very useful for meditation as well as breathing exercises. Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank can be preceded by Sukhasana and Dandasana.

The stretching of the leg muscles in turn helps relieve lower back pain effectively over time. They help in toning the muscles in the leg and feet, which in turn increases our body’s stability. These Ankle and toe bending exercises are very helpful in preventing conditions like arthritis that affect the joints in the body.

How To Do Goolf Ghoornan Or Ankle Crank?

To practice Goof Ghoornan or Ankle Crank, one must get into Dandasana first:

Steps to practice Dandasana:

  • To practice Dandasana or The Staff Pose, sit straight with your legs outstretched on the floor or on Yoga mat.
  • In case you have tight hamstrings, you can sit on a cushion or blanket so that your torso can be upright and vertical.
  • You can also sit with your back against a wall in such a way that your shoulder blades are touching the wall while leaving a little space between the wall and your lower back.
  • Press your buttocks on the floor, and align your head in such a way that the crown faces the ceiling while practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose.
  • Also, bring your thighs to touch the floor. At the same point, press out through your heel.
  • Press your thigh bones firmly down into the floor. Make sure your legs do not rotate outward while practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose.
  • Place your palms next to your hips on the floor.
  • Doing this will support your spine and also relax your shoulders.
  • While practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose your torso must be straight and relaxed.
  • While practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose, relax your legs, and press your legs firmly to the floor.
  • Broaden across your shoulders and lift your chest. Also, draw your navel in toward your spine.
  • In the final position, your torso should be perpendicular to the floor and your crown should be towards the ceiling.
  • Always try to keep your chin parallel to the floor and close your eyes and focus on the center of the eyes.
  • Stay in this position for 3-4 minutes or for as longer as you can.
  • Practice Dandasana or The Staff Pose for as long as you can. Stop when you feel discomfort in your legs or spine.

Steps to practice Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank:

  • Get into Dandasana to practice Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • Remain in the base position and keep breathing normally.
  • Make sure that your back is straight while practicing this asana.
  • Bend the right knee and bring the foot towards the buttock while getting into this asana.
  • Turn the knee out to the side and place the foot on the left thigh.
  • Make sure the ankle is far enough over the thigh to be free for rotation.
  • Hold the right ankle with the right hand to support the ankle while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or ankle rotation.
  • Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand while practicing this asana.
  • With the help of the left hand, slowly rotate the right foot 10 times clockwise, then 10 times anti-clockwise.
  • Repeat with the left foot placed on the right thigh while practicing the asana.
  • Close your eyes and focus on the center of the eyes.
  • Stay in this position for 3-4 minutes or for as longer as you can.
  • 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.

Breathing Pattern To Be Followed While Practicing Goolf Ghoornan Or Ankle Crank

  • Inhale on the upward movement.
  • Exhale on the downward movement.
  • Maintain a constant breath while holding the pose.

Awareness While Being In Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank

  • Physical Awareness: On the physical plane, stay aware of your breath while in the pose. Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank is a very good asana for calming the nervous system and it prepares you for meditation. You can stay in this pose for several minutes or as long as feels comfortable to allow the body to relax and the mind calm.
  • Spiritual Awareness: On the spiritual plane, focus on the areas of your Ajna or The Third eye chakra while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank and you will feel the stress melting away from your body. It helps you meet with your divine self while practicing regularly.

Preparatory And Follow Up Poses To Be Practiced With Goolf Ghoornan Or Ankle Crank

  • Preparatory Poses: The various preparatory poses to be practiced before Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank is Dandasana or The Staff Pose.
  • Follow Up Poses: The various follow up poses or Pranayamas to be practiced after Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank are Anulom Vilom or The Alternate Nostril Breathing, Kapalbhati Pranayama, Vajrasana or The Diamond pose, Uttanasana or The Standing Forward Bend Pose, Balasana or The Child Pose and Dhanurasana or The Bow Pose.

Benefits of Practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank

  • Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank is the easiest and most comfortable of the meditation postures. It can be utilized without ill effect by persons who are unable to sit in the more difficult meditation postures.
  • It facilitates mental and physical balance without causing strain or pain.
  • This pose is good for practice of meditation and pranayama.
  • Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank is the easiest alternative for those who have tight hips and cannot sit in advanced postures.
  • Ankle Crank brings a sense of calm and peace through your mind and body.
  • This pose helps in relaxing your brain.
  • Your back becomes stronger and steadier. With regular practice of this pose.
  • Goolf Ghoornan gives your knees and ankles a good stretch.
  • This pose helps in broadening of chest and collar bones
  • Your body alignment is improved with regular practice of Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • Practicing Ankle Crank helps elongate your spine.
  • While practicing this pose, you will feel the stress, tension and anxiety melting from your body.
  • Goolf Ghoornan helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of Matsya kridasana or The Flapping Fish Pose.
  • It refreshes and rejuvenates you and also relieves you of stress and mild depression.
  • This pose helps in increasing flexibility during difficult situations.

Precautions And Contraindications While Practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank

  • Avoid practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank if you have hip and knee injuries, or if they are both inflamed.
  • People with slipped disc problem should practice Ankle Crank very carefully.
  • You can use cushioning to make yourself comfortable while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • Do not practice Goolf Ghoornan if you do not feel comfortable during the practice.
  • Do not over do this exercise if you feel pain in your body.
  • Start the practice mildly and then increase the repetitions as per your capacity.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not over exert yourself while practicing this pose. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
  • It is most beneficial when you stay aware of the stretches while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.

Tips While Practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank

  • Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank is a relaxing posture which may be practiced after extended periods of sitting in siddhasana or padmasana.
  • It is difficult to hold this pose for long periods of time unless the knees are close to the ground or on the ground. If your knees do not touch the ground, most of the body weight is supported by the buttocks and backache develops. So, you must try to touch your knees on the ground while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • Beginners can are not able to perform Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank can practice the same by sitting cross legged with a belt or cloth tied around the knees and lower back.
  • Make sure that you hold the spine upright while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • Concentrate on the eye center and try to equalize the weight on the right and left side of the body while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • While holding Goolf Ghoornan, place the hands on the knees in Chin or Jnana mudra to derive maximum benefits from the asana.
  • You can experiment with various heights of support to find the most appropriate position for you to hold Goolf Ghoornan for a longer duration.
  • Beginners or aged people or people with very tight hips can practice the pose seated in a chair. Leaving one foot flat on the floor, cross the opposite ankle over the knee of the grounded foot. Hold the pose for up to one minute and then repeat on the opposite side.
  • You can also sit with your back against a wall for the back support initially while practicing Ankle Crank.
  • You can also place a yoga block between the wall and your shoulder blades to support you back and to hold the pose in the right posture while practicing Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank.
  • Whenever you feel tense and frustrated, just get into Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank to find peace. Get on to the ground and sit quietly. As you slow and deepen your breath, you will feel the frustration leaving your body slowly.

Goolf Ghoornan or Ankle Crank Variations

  1. Goolf Naman

    Steps to practice Goolf Naman or Ankle Bending:

    • Get into Dandasana to practice Goolf Naman or Ankle Bending.
    • Remain in the base position.
    • In this position, keep the feet slightly apart.
    • Slowly move both feet backward and forward, bending them from the ankle joints.
    • At the same time, try to stretch the feet forward to touch the floor and then draw them back towards the knees.
    • Hold each position for a few seconds.
    • Relax for a few breaths.
    • Repeat the exercise for 10 rounds.
    • 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.
  2. Goolf Chakra

    Steps to practice Goolf Chakra or Ankle Rotation:

    • To practice Goolf Chakra or Ankle rotation, you must get into Dandasana first.
    • Remain in the base position.
    • And from this position, separate the legs a little while keeping them straight.
    • Keep the heels on the ground throughout the practice.
    • Slowly rotate the right foot clockwise from the ankle 10 times and then repeat 10 times anti-clockwise.
    • Repeat the same procedure with the left foot.
    • You must place the feet together to get into this asana.
    • Slowly rotate both feet together in the same direction, keeping them in contact with each other.
    • Do not allow the knees to move.
    • You can practice 10 times clockwise and then 10 times anti- clockwise.
    • In this stage, keep the feet separated from each other.
    • Slowly rotate both feet from the ankles together but in opposite directions.
    • The big toes should touch each other on the inward stroke of each foot.
    • Like the above stage, practice 10 rotations in one direction and then 10 rotations in the opposite direction.

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