Definition - What does Laghu Vajrasana mean?
Laghu vajrasana is an advanced backbend that can promote increased flexibility of the spine while opening up the heart and chest to allow for deep breathing. The name comes from the Sanskrit laghu, meaning “small,” vajra, meaning “thunderbolt,” and asana, meaning “pose” or "posture."
To enter the pose, begin with the knees on the floor, aligning the calves and feet directly behind them. Keep the core strong and the pelvis forward, placing the hands on the thighs as the body bends backwards. Drop the head slowly back, allowing the top of the head to lower further to the ground. The legs provide the stability and strength for this pose while the thigh muscles push forward to allow for the backbend. Hands can move to the knees, calves or above the ankles once stability is gained for the full expression of the pose. When exiting the pose, the core should remain strong to protect the lower back and spine while the quadriceps and inner thighs pull the body forward to an upright position. The head is the last to come up.
Laghu vajrasana is also known in English as little thunderbolt pose.
Yogapedia explains Laghu Vajrasana
Laghu vajrasana is an asana that expresses strength, power and balance. It is often incorporated into advanced practices as an intense backbend. As the pose opens and expands the chest and throat, it allows for deep, clarifying breaths that can increase or improve focus.
This asana is thought to aid in opening the visuddha chakra (throat chakra) that is considered to be the purification and creativity center; and the ajna chakra (third eye chakra) that is the center of insight, intuition and intellect.
Practitioners of laghu vajrasana should be able to easily and safely practice ustrasana (camel pose), which laghu vajrasana builds upon. Beginners should not attempt this pose without the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.