Swastikasana and Arms Forward, Right and Left Forward Bend Stretch
The Story Behind the Name:
Swastikasana and Arms Forward, Right and Left Forward Bend Stretch is the basic easy cross-legged seated posture used mostly for warm up at the beginning of yoga session immediately after finishing Swastikasana – Easy Cross – Legged position.
It is one of the first poses taught in the beginner’s classes at Yoga and used to learn how to start focusing inwards.
Swastikasana is done by sitting on the floor and folding one leg in front of the other and after completing the five breaths we slowly move forward, right and left and staying in each position for another five breaths.
The name Swastikasana comes from the four Sanskrit words:
- su, meaning “good”.
- asti, meaning “to be” or “existence”.
- ka, meaning “to make”; and
- asana, meaning “pose.”
The whole word Swatikasana can be defined as a pose that makes one exist in a good state of mind, that will bring prosperity, harmony and peace.
Swastikasana is also be referred to by its English name, auspicious pose.
The swastikasana’s cross-legged position resembles a swastika, which in India is a symbol of good fortune, happiness and auspiciousness.
The symbol represents the corners of the universe meeting at a common center of consciousness that brings the benefits such as:
- Increase in concentration
- Rejuvenation of the nervous system
- Calmness of the mind and emotional balance.
Technical details and how to start:
- Start in Swastikasana – Easy Cross Leg seated position.
- Inhale arms up look up and as you exhale come forward stretching your arms forward.
- At the each exhalation, stretch your arms forward as much as possible (Position A).
- Duration five breaths.
- At the fifth exhalation move the arms towards the right side and if possible try to put your left hand over the right hand (Position B).
- Duration five breaths.
- At the fifth exhalation move the arms towards the left side and if possible try to put your right hand over the left hand (Position C).
- Do each position for five breaths moving from one position to another at the fifth exhalation.
- Excellent position to open your hips and to relax.
- Excellent side stretch position.
- It is also a grounding pose and calms the mind, thus helping relieve stress and tension which can help to remove anxiety.
- If your hip muscles are tight you can put a bolster, blocks or folded blanket underneath your sitting bone to ease strain on the hips.
- If knees are unable to touch the floor then use a pillow or blocks to support them.
- Avoid in case of severe knee pain, back, neck, or shoulder injuries, and those with degenerative disc disease.
- Avoid if to practice these poses if you are currently suffering from diarrhea.
- If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
People who decide to start practising Yoga and who are suffering from any cardiac problem, asthma, back pain, high blood pressure, neck, shoulder or spine injury or any other health related issue, should consult a doctor before starting any yogic activities and eliminate the positions that are not suitable for their particular case. Also, some particular asanas such as inversion asanas are not recommended for female practitioners who are menstruating.