Udarakarshana Asana Abdominal Stretch Pose, Method, Benefits, Side Effects

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Udarakarshana Asana is an asana which requires the doer to stretch his abdomen (which involves stretching of abdomen) while performing this pose. The name of the asana also indicates that the purpose of this asana is to provide a good stretch to the abdomen, abdominal muscles and abdominal organs. 

Word meaning

Meaning –
Udara = Abdomen
Karshana = Stretch
Asana = Pose, Posture

This is one of the asanas used while performing Shankha Prakshalana, Yogic method of intestinal cleansing, part of Shat Karma (of Hatha Yoga practice). In Shankha Prakshalana, like other asanas, it si performed after drinking water or salt water. This posture pushes the water down your body and stimulates Apana Vayu. This induces a pressure which will make you go to the toilet and evacuate your bowels.

Method

Method of doing Udarakarshanasana
Positioning for the asana
Sit in the squatting position. Ensure that your feet are kept width apart and the hands kept on your knees.
Exhale

Performing the Udarakarshan Asan
Left twist or stretch

  • As you exhale, slowly twist the right knee and bring it to the floor towards the left foot. Keep the inner part of the right foot on the floor.
  • Now, use the left hand as a lever and push the left knee towards the right while twisting towards the left
  • Squeeze the lower abdomen and look over the left shoulder
  • Be in this posture until you finish counting 5 breaths
  • Now inhale

Release from the asana and coming to neutral

  • While inhaling, slowly return to the squatting position (starting point of the asana)
  • Now exhale.

Right twist or stretch
The same steps explained in the left twist shall be repeated on the opposite side.

  • As you exhale, slowly twist the left knee and bring it to the floor towards the right foot. Keep the inner part of the left foot on the floor.
  • Now, use the right hand as a lever and push the right knee towards the left while twisting towards the right
  • Squeeze the lower abdomen and look over the right shoulder
  • Be in this posture until you finish counting 5 breaths
  • Now inhale

Release from the asana and coming to neutral

  • While inhaling, slowly return to the squatting position (starting point of the asana)
  • Now exhale.

Note –
One left twist or stretch along with one right twist or stretch constitute one round of Udarakarshana Asana. You can perform 5 rounds at a time.

Duration

What time should be spent in the pose while doing Abdominal Stretch Pose?
You should keep yourself in the pose for a count of at least 5 breaths on one side. This count is applicable when you twist to the opposite side also. Thus for every twist or stretch, you should be in the pose for a count of 5 breaths. As you gain practice, you can make extra counts, depending on your comfort.

How many times can Udarakarshana Asana be done?
1 left twist (stretch) along with 1 right twist (stretch) of the abdomen will constitute 1 round of Udarakarshana Asana. In one sitting, 5 such rounds can be done continuously.

Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Udarakarshana Asana
Below mentioned are the benefits of Udarakarshana Asana –

  • Helps in relieving abdominal ailments since it provides compression and stretch to the abdomen
  • Relieves constipation (especially if performed after drinking warm water)
  • Gives good stretch to the ankle joints, toes, legs and knee joints
  • Helps in preventing urinary tract infections (UTI’s)
  • Helps in relieving urinary retention and incontinence
  • Can help ease knee arthritis

Impact on Chakras

Udarakarshana Asana works on Manipura Chakra and also stimulates and balances it. Thus Udarakarshana Asana is beneficial in curing the abdominal and digestive ailments.

Contraindications and precautions

Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Udarakarshana Asana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Udarakarshana Asana –

  • Knee injuries
  • Spinal injuries

Effect on Doshas

Effect of Udarakarshana Asana on Doshas and their subtypes –

Stimulates Apana Vayu – Udarakarshana Asana is one of the best asanas which helps in stimulating Apana Vayu. By doing so, it helps in relieving constipation, diseases related to urinary and genital organs and discomfort in the lower limbs and low back.

Stimulates and activates Pachaka Pitta, Samana Vayu – By stimulating and activating Pachaka Pitta and Samana Vayu, Udarakarshana Asana helps in setting up a good digestion process apart from curing the digestive disorders. This action also can be contributed to the activation of Manipura Chakra and also the toning up of the muscles of the abdomen and the abdominal organs by this asana.

Effect on Dhatus

Effect of Udarakarshana Asana on Dhatus –
Strengthens Mamsa Dhatu – Udarakarshana Asana strengthens and tones up the muscles of the abdomen and good stretch to the muscles of the lower limbs.

Strengthens Asthi Dhatu – The asana strengthens the bone tissue and bony joints, brings flexibility in movements at the joints.

Effect on Malas

Effect of Udarakarshana Asana on Malas –
Helps in expulsion of Pureesha and mutra – By activating Apana Vayu this asana helps in timely expulsion of feces and urine, relieves constipation, urinary retention, incontinence and infections. This is also helped by the abdominal massage provided by this asana and also the enhanced movement of abdominal viscera.

Just Before Finish
Udarakarshanasan is one of the best exercises for the abdomen, abdominal muscles and organs. It gives a good stretch to the belly. It is good for digestive system and cures digestion related disorders. It is also good for those suffering from arthritis and joint disorders.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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