Definition - What does Merudandasana mean?

Merudandasana is an intermediate seated asana that requires balance and flexibility. The name comes from the Sanskrit, merudanda, meaning “spine,” and asana, meaning "pose."

To enter into the pose, begin seated in baddha konasana, with the soles of the feet touching and the knees dropping toward the ground. Grasp the big toes with the pointer and middle finger of each corresponding hand. On an exhale, shift the weight of the body to lean back. On an inhale, straighten the legs up overhead. Hold for a cycle of six to eight breaths and then mindfully come out of the pose.

Merudandasana is most commonly called balancing bear pose in English.

Yogapedia explains Merudandasana

Merudandasana is believed to activate the svadisthana (spleen or sacral) chakra, which opens the yogi's creative energy and stimulates feelings of pleasure, abundance and joy.

Practicing merudandasana is also believed to offer the following benefits:

  • Improves balance, focus and concentration
  • Opens the hips and back of the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs, improving digestion
  • Strengthens the core muscles and back
  • Improves overall flexibility
  • Stretches the spine

For a modification, beginners or those with limited flexibility, may choose to keep the knees bent slightly and/or sit on a folded blanket.

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